As you no doubt remember, the world lost a TV icon back on June 19, 2013. 'The Sopranos' star James Gandolfini succumbed to a massive heart attack that evening while vacationing in Rome, and fans all over the globe subsequently mourned his passing. One question remained after the initial shock and sadness wore off though: What would happen to the upcoming HBO project that Gandolfini was so passionately shepherding to the small screen? It first appeared that production of the project, a seven-part mini-series entitled 'Criminal Justice', would be understandably canceled. After all, not only was Gandolfini producing the series, he was the lead actor.
Now, it seems that 'Criminal Justice' will make air after all, and with a replacement lead actor that Gandolfini would no doubt approve of. Screen legend Robert De Niro ('Taxi Driver,' 'Raging Bull,' 'Goodfellas,' 'Casino,' 'The Godfather Part II,' etc.) will now be starring in the New York City set series. Adapted from the 2008 BBC drama of the same name, the story centers on a sleazy, ambulance chasing attorney (now played by De Niro) that finds himself in way over his head after agreeing to defend a Pakistani national from a murder charge.
Gandolfini will remain credited as an executive producer, which is only fitting considering how hard he pushed for the series to be made. Writer/director Steven Zaillian ('A Civil Action,' 'Gangs of New York,' 'American Gangster,' 'Moneyball') will helm the pilot episode.