Five years after the final season of The Sopranos aired, the man who portrayed New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano may be returning to HBO's primetime drama lineup.
With James Gandolfini in the lead role, crime drama Criminal Justice has received a pilot order from the network that made him famous. Loosely based on the critically lauded BBC series of the same name, Criminal Justice is set in New York and will follow the plot of the British version's first season, which told the story of a young man who takes his father's cab for a drive and picks up a party girl along the way. She invites him back to her apartment for a night of debauchery and when he wakes up in the morning, he finds the girl stabbed to death. Although he has no memory of committing the crime, he is charged with her murder.
In the US version, the young man is an American-born Pakistani named Naz, played by Rizwan Ahmed, and Gandolfini will star as Jack Stone, a down-on-his-luck jailhouse lawyer who trolls for clients at local police precincts. A disheveled attorney known for wearing cheap suits and sandals, Stone sees Naz in a holding cell and takes up his cause.
Written by Oscar nominee Richard Price (The Color of Money) and directed by Oscar-winning writer Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List), the HBO adaptation will also star Bill Camp (Damages) as the lead detective on the case, and Poorna Jagannathan and Peyman Moadi as Naz's parents.
The original series consisted of two five-episode seasons, with the second season featuring a different cast and following different characters. If the HBO pilot is picked up for additional seasons, Gandolfini's character is expected to remain a constant presence to tie the seasons together.
Few have been more critical of TV's endless parade of cop-and-lawyer procedurals than me, but this project sounds like a winner. With Gandolfini returning to HBO and the creative team behind it, this should be gold. What say you, TVRagers?