July 11, 2014 4:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Tony Goldwyn Hopes 'The Divide' Storytelling Is as Bold as 'Scandal'
WEtv joins the scripted world this month with The Divide, a legal drama exploring a racially charged case and the impact that a crime has on those involved.
The Divide stars Marin Ireland as Christine Rosa, an impassioned caseworker with the Innocence Initiative who delves into the case of a death-row inmate she believes was wrongly convicted of a young family's heinous murder 11 years earlier. She chases down new evidence in a search for the truth and confronts an equally passionate district attorney, Adam Page (Damon Gupton), whose view of justice is colored by shades of gray. Throughout the journey, Christine's and Adam's pasts resurface as they are faced with the question of one man's guilt or innocence intertwined with their own personal histories. Joe Anderson (Across the Universe), Aunjanue Ellis (The Help), Clarke Peters (The Wire) and Paul Schneider (Parks and Recreation) co-star. Oscar- and Emmy-nominee Richard LaGravenese writes and exec produces alongside Scandal star Tony Goldwyn.
Goldwyn, who directed the pilot during a break from production on ABC's Shonda Rhimes political thriller, said he hopes his drama has the same risky storytelling that has made Scandal a hit.
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"There are no good guys and bad guys; everyone is good and bad," Goldwyn told reporters Friday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour of The Divide's commonality with Scandal. "And the way Shonda is very bold in the way she makes story decisions — that appealed to us, not being timid and going for it. But they're so different in tone."
Added Ireland of the similarities between the WEtv and ABC shows: "And how to shoot the sex scenes — that's the primary thing we took away from Scandal," she joked. The answer, she said with a laugh, was "in full flesh."
The series was originally developed and filmed for AMC, which liked the drama but had the project redeveloped before it was picked up straight to series at sibling network WEtv. Producers said the decision to make the move was an easy one after AMC executives wanted to do with The Divide what Mad Men did for the flagship network when it launched its original scripted fare.
LaGravenese said the first version of The Divide "wasn't fully realized" when AMC passed on the pilot and kept the actors under contract as producers redeveloped the legal and family thriller. "It was an opportunity to learn from the first [pilot], and we knew where to improve the storytelling. We added characters … and we took the pilot and fileted it into two."
The Divide debuts July 16 at 9 p.m. on WEtv.