It has been five years since The Sopranos went off the air, and since that time, series star James Gandolfini has done a number of low-key projects. Imagine our surprise today when it was announced that he not only would be returning to television, but through another crime drama for HBO.
Word is that the Emmy-winner is attached to a show called Criminal Justice from Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List) and Richard Price (The Color of Money) who are each considered to be major behind-the-scenes talents. The premium network has just ordered a pilot episode for the drama which will feature an ensemble cast although Gandolfini remains the only name amongst the litter that any of us would recognize.
Based on a BBC series, it certainly sounds like an anthology although the five-episode season format is not exactly HBO’s style, so that will clearly be stretched. For those not in the know, that means new characters and new casts every year much like what we are seeing with American Horror Story which is perhaps a trend-setter in the scripted television arena. This would be the second such offering from HBO as they are also on the hook for True Detectives which stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey exclusively in its first season.
Each year of Criminal Justice is said to follow the journey of a person charged with murder through the justice system although things could be tweaked substantially so ‘grain of salt’ that synopsis right there. Gandolfini’s role in all this will be as a jailhouse lawyer named Jack Stone. In the first season, the defendant will be an American-born Pakistani named Naz.