MIPCOM 2011: 'The Firm' Showrunner Spills Secrets About NBC's New Midseason Drama

4:41 PM PST 10/03/2011 by Mimi Turner
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Lukas Reiter

Lukas Reiter says the 22-episode show, starring Josh Lucas, picks up 10 years after the end of John Grisham's novel and that the author himself has been giving advice on storylines.

CANNES -- The head of the Moralto crime family is dead, 10 years have passed since the denoument of The Firm, and Mitchell McDeere and his family have spent it in the wilderness of the witness protection program. Now they want to rejoin the real world.

That's where NBC's new midseason show The Firm -- which has John Grisham as an executive producer -- picks up. The midseason show, due to launch most likely in January, stars Josh Lucas as Mitch, Molly Parker as Abby and Juliette Lewis as Tammy Hemphill. 

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"The McDeeres have been through so much that right off the bat you feel the impact of what they have been through in their everyday lives and the isolation they have faced," says showrunner Lukas Reiter, who has nurtured the project over the past four years and originally approached Grisham with the idea of scripting a sequel.

Reiter, a former prosecutor who has worked on The Practice and Boston Legal, said he had long wanted to re-create the future for the characters in the original novel.

"I'd been asking myself why John Grisham had never continued ever continue the story -- it was such a success for him and these characters were so real," Reiter said. "How come he never continued this?"

Eventually Grisham was persuaded to join the project and has helped advise on storylines.

"He has been fantastic in helping to discuss the stories that we are telling and the central conspiracy at the heart of the first season is very much a collaboration with John," Reiter added.

In terms of the new series plot arc, Reiter will only say that the family try to get their lives back on track but find that the past has "a way of catching up with them." 

Much of the drama and thriller feel comes from creating the same kinds of tensions and challenges that made the book and 1993 film adaptation, which starred Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman, so original.

"What made Mitch McDeere so special is his ability to find the hidden solution long after the average person believes there is no way out," Reiter said. "Somehow he continues to believe that there is a solution and he is going to fix things. There's a great amount of fun to be had watching Josh Lucas find those solutions."

The series, which has filmed in Toronto, is produced by eOne Television in association with Sony Pictures Television Networks and Paramount Pictures.

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