'Red Widow' EP Departs From Dutch Format, Aims for 'Breaking Bad' Darkness

The midseason ABC drama, starring Radha Mitchell, is targeting a life beyond the abbreviated order already completed.

Red Widow EP Melissa Rosenberg hopes her series has the same problems as the Dutch format that inspired it.

Penoza, the story of a woman forced to assume her husband's mob duties after his murder, wrote itself into a bit of a corner by the end of its first season -- but it was so successful, writers had to find a way to revive the story for a renewal.

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Rosenberg told a crowd at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that she's optimistically leaving things a bit more open with the ABC adaptation.

"We don't kill everyone," she said. "I can tell you that. Some people die, but not all of them. For me, it's all about building characters and relationships you can cling to for five or seven years."

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Radha Mitchell, who assumes the role of matriarch and reluctant kingpin, said that she was drawn to the role by her career-long obsession with Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita. And while the completed eight-episode won't find her going as dark as that deeply flawed heroine, she would like to see things go even further south.

"She could go as bad as Walter White," Rosenberg said of Bryan Cranston's Breaking Bad character. "We don't go that far in the series, but there is definitely room to evolve."

And if they get that chance for more episodes, Rosenberg and Mitchell said that they'd like Red Widow to be the broadcast network and feminine response to cable's complex antiheroes.