Felicity Huffman to Star in ABC Drama From '12 Years a Slave' Writer

Huffman's Felicitous Voiceover Casting

Felicity Huffman debuted her endearingly self-aware voiceover address at the Ahmanson Theatre opening of "Anything Goes" on Nov. 28, advising the audience -- which included Seth MacFarlane and Lawrence Bender -- to refrain from texting

ABC's John Ridley drama American Crime has found its leading lady in a familiar face.

Desperate Housewives alum Felicity Huffman is set as the female lead in the drama from 12 Years a Slave Oscar winner John Ridley, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The drama pilot, written, exec produced and directed by Ridley, examines the personal lives of the players involved in a racially charged trial as their worlds are turned upside down.

PHOTOS: Faces of Pilot Season 2014

Huffman will star as Barb Skokie, Russ' (Leverage's Timothy Hutton) stoic ex-wife who raised her two sons, Mark and Matt, alone in public housing while her husband was off gambling. She still resents living as the only single white woman in a racially charged environment and being treated accordingly by the other occupants. Determined to hold someone accountable for her son Matt's murder, Barb plans to stay close to the investigation and get answers. She's removed, dismissive and cool in her dealings with Russ, and she has no qualms about giving statements to the press if that will help keep the heat on Modesto PD to find the killer.

The casting brings Huffman back to ABC following her eight-season run as Lynette Scavo on the network's Desperate Housewives. Last pilot season, she was attached to star in the John Wells family assassin drama Boomerang, which did not move forward. The Transamerica Oscar nominee earned two Emmy nominations and took home one win for her lead role in Desperate Housewives. Huffman is also a five-time Golden Globe nominee for Desperate Housewives, Sports Night and Transamerica, winning for the latter. She's repped by CAA.

STORY: TV Pilots 2014: The Complete Guide

Huffman joins a cast that includes Hutton, Elvis Nolasco, Caitlin Gerard, Richard Cabral, Johnny Ortiz, Benito Martinez, W. Earl Brown and Penelope Ann Miller.

Ridley will pen the script, exec produce and direct. Michael McDonald will exec produce the ABC Studios and Stearns Castle drama, which will film in Austin, Texas.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit