USA is getting into the crime business.
The NBCUniversal-owned cable network has handed out a straight-to-series, 10-episode order to drama Eyewitness, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The project, based on the Norwegian crime thriller Øyevitne, hails from Shades of Blue creator Adi Hasak and explores a grisly crime from the point of view of the eyewitnesses. Hasak, who brought the title to producers Universal Cable Productions, will serve as showrunner and executive produce alongside Norwegian series creator Jarl Emsell Larsen.
Here’s the official logline: When two innocent teenage boys secretly meet up in the forest, they witness a shooting and barely escape with their lives. Desperate to keep their relationship a secret and in fear of being found by the perpetrator, they remain silent but soon learn that what has been seen cannot be unseen and when you witness a horrible event it changes everything, forever.
The original series was produced in Norway by NRK Drama and premiered last year. The show’s Anneke von der Lippe, who played a police investigator, earned an International Emmy.
“Norway’s incredible show Eyewitness follows a horrific crime story through the unlucky and unlikely eyes of two innocent witnesses,” said Dawn Olmstead, executive vp development at UCP. “It’s a bone-chilling thrill ride that not only exposes the details of a crime, but also the secrets of the witnesses who watched. When Adi brought this to UCP, we immediately knew we had to be involved.”
Added Alex Sepiol, senior vp original scripted programming at USA: “Eyewitness takes a horrific crime and, in compelling fashion, uses it to examine a whole network of unique character relationships. We were immediately drawn to the source material, and Adi has found a very smart way to adapt it into a truly universal and engaging story.”
For USA, Eyewitness comes as the cable network has abandoned its former “Blue Skies” brand in favor of darker fare along the lines of newly minted Golden Globe winner Mr. Robot in a bid to court Millennials. The cabler recently launched Carlton Cuse-produced Josh Holloway/Sarah Wayne Callies starrer Colony. It joins a drama slate at USA that includes newly ordered Falling Water, Mr. Robot, Satisfaction, Colony, Suits, Royal Pains and Queen of the South.
Hasak is a former film producer who recently made his TV debut with NBC’s Jennifer Lopez drama Shades of Blue, which, like Eyewitness, was also picked up straight to series.
Eyewitness arrives as the nation continues to be captivated by Netflix’s true-crime docuseries Making a Murderer and on the heels of the similarly themed HBO doc The Jinx and podcast Serial.