In a rare twist, HBO is moving forward with a high-profile project it recently passed on.
That project is the James Gandolfini drama Criminal Justice, an adaptation of Peter Moffat's 2008 BBC crime entry. HBO on Monday ordered seven hourlong episodes of the retooled New York-set crime drama with plans to air the entry as a limited series.
The reversal comes some two-plus months after HBO opted not to move forward. In the interim, the project garnered strong buzz and heavy interest from HBO rivals.
Oscar-winning scribe Steven Zaillian and Oscar nominee Richard Price wrote and executive produced the pilot, with the WME-repped Zaillian also serving as its director. Exec producers include Jane Tranter, Gandolfini, Moffat, Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders; Garrett Basch will produce.
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The original New York-set drama tracked a person on trial for murder through the court process, with each of its two five-episode seasons consisting of a new cast. HBO's installment will revolve around the first arc, which tracked Ben Whishaw as Ben, a guy who wakes up after a night of partying with a stranger to find her stabbed to death and is charged with her murder. Gandolfini will play Jack Stone, a downtrodden jailhouse attorney frequents police stations for clients. Riz Ahmed (Naz, a Pakistani-American), Bill Camp (Box), Payman Maadi (Salim Kahn) and Poorna Jagannathan (Safar Kahn) round out the cast.
The New York-based entry is being produced by HBO in association with BBC Worldwide Productions.
Criminal Justice marks the latest limited "event" project to get the series nod. Fox earlier Monday officially revived Kiefer Sutherland's 24 as a 12-hour entry and also picked up M. Night Shyamalan's Matt Dillon starrer Wayward Pines as the broadcast network looks to compete with the likes of HBO and attract cache, eyeballs and top talent as it pushes forward with year-round original fare.