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FX is moving forward with The Bridge.
The drama starring Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger has earned a 13-episode first-season order. Production on the Shine America/FX Productions entry from Homeland writer/executive producer Meredith Stiehm and Hawaii Five-0 producer Elwood Reid is set to begin in April, with a plan to bow in July.
The Bridge revolves around two detectives, one from the U.S. and one from Mexico, who must work together to hunt down a serial killer operating on both sides of the border. The series, set on the border between El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico, is an adaptation of the international hit Bron, which took place at the Denmark-Sweden border. The latter had been produced by Shine Group’s Filmlance and Denmark’s Nimbus Film Production.
“For years networks having been trying develop a drama series set on the U.S.-Mexican border without any success,” said FX Networks President John Landgraf in announcing the news. “I’m thrilled to say that Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid have become the first to crack that creative code, and they have done so magnificently. There have been great films set in that world – No Country for Old Men and Lone Star come to mind – but never a great TV series. This one is special.”
Added Shine America’s newly installed CEO Rich Ross: “We are thrilled to partner with FX on The Bridge, a series with tremendous auspices and a very strong international pedigree. As our first scripted series launch under the new Shine America banner, we could not be more proud of the team that has been assembled by Meredith, Elwood and Carolyn [G. Bernstein, Shine America’s executive vp scripted programming].”
Bichir, an Oscar nominee last year for will A Better Life, star as Marco Ruiz, a homicide investigator for the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, living in Ciudad Juarez. Billed as a family man, Marco is one of the last good men in a corrupt and apathetic police force that is outgunned by the powerful drug cartels. He’s sharp, charming, observant and painfully aware that his city is in a state of chaos.
When a body is dumped on the bridge that spans the El Paso-Juarez border, Ruiz is forced to work with his American counterpart, Detective Sonya Cross (Kruger). Her part is described as a dogged cop who has an undiagnosed disorder that falls in the autism spectrum. Cross is shockingly candid and calls the world as she sees it, which can be off-putting to her colleagues, but she is also extremely effective at her job.
In addition to the series leads, The Bridge has enlisted guest stars Ted Levine as a member of Cross’ team, Annabeth Gish, as a wealthy widow with a ranch to run, Thomas M. Wright as a wolf of a man and The Descendants’ Matthew Lillard as a cocky reporter.
The pilot, which was shot in Los Angeles and El Paso, was directed by Miss Bala’s Gerardo Naranjo. Shine America’s Bernstein and Filmlance’s Lars Blomgren will serve as executive producers on the drama, which will be distributed by Shine International.
The news comes some seven months after FX announced the pilot order; the hourlong showpiece ultimately wrapped production in December. Its order is a sign of FX’s continued push to increase its drama slate, bringing the drama count to four with Bridge joining Justified, Sons of Anarchy and The Americans. FX’s originals are filled out by one miniseries, six comedies and two late-night efforts at the News Corp.-owned cable network. The Bridge is the 14th drama series ordered by the network, starting with gritty cop drama The Shield in 2002.
With news of The Bridge’s order expected for months, Homeland showrunner Alex Gansa and his team have been actively looking to fill Stiehm’s position, among others, in the pedigreed writers room. (As THR reported, Homicide veteran James Yoshimura is the first new writer hired ahead of the Emmy-winning drama’s third season.) In addition to offering rich personal perspective as Stiehm crafted storylines about Carrie Mathison’s struggles with bipolar disorder, she served as the six-member staff’s only female voice. She was responsible for a handful of the series’ more emotional Carrie/Brody episodes, including season one’s The Weekend (in which the pair head to the country cabin) and season two’s New Car Smell (when Carrie confronts Brody in the hotel room) as well Homeland’s second-season finale, a collaboration with Gansa.
Prior to Homeland, WME-repped Stiehm served as the creator and executive producer of CBS’s long-running procedural Cold Case, for which Reid was a producer. Prior to that, she spent four seasons as a writer on ABC’s hit cop drama NYPD Blue. She joined Homeland in the series’ first season.
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose
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