Melissa Leo to Star in Fox Crime Drama 'Blood Relative'

The Oscar and Emmy winner's involvement lifts a cast contingency on the pilot.
Leslie Hassler
Melissa Leo

Melissa Leo is headed to Fox. 

The Oscar and Emmy winner will topline Blood Relative, a crime drama centered on a genetic genealogist. Her involvement lifts a cast contingency on the pilot, a co-production of Paramount Television Studios, Anonymous Content and Fox Entertainment.

Based on a 2018 Cleveland Scene article by James Renner, the drama will center on Leo's Louise Kelly, who knows the field of genetic genealogy better than anyone but is also impossible to work with. With an IQ in the 190s, Lou wrote the book on genetic genealogy and can trace anyone if she has a viable tissue sample to play with — John and Jane Does, errant husbands, long-lost children, murderers in hiding, anyone with a secret life.

But Lou has a habit of burning bridges as she goes. Sarcastic, sardonic, irritable and confrontational, she’s the smartest person in the room with no time to explain her methods to average folks. Except her little brother John. It’s through working with her sibling to solve the toughest of cases that secrets from their past will start to bubble to the surface, threatening their relationship and their father’s legacy as a respected lieutenant, community leader and all-around good guy. And maybe that’s exactly what will set Lou free.

Blood Relative marks a return to Fox for Leo, who starred in the first season of the network's Wayward Pines in 2015. She next will be seen in HBO's limited series I Know This Much Is True, which is set to premiere in April. Leo won an Oscar in 2011 for her role in The Fighter and an Emmy in 2013 for a guest turn on FX's Louie. Other recent credits include Showtime's I'm Dying Up Here, Dolly Parton's Heartstrings on Netflix and the feature film The Equalizer 2. She is repped by Untitled and CAA.

Chris Levinson (Law & Order, Tyrant) and Renner are writing the pilot and will executive produce with director Philip Noyce (The Resident, Patriot Games) and 3 Dot Productions' Liza Chasin.