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CBS is headed to the Southern heat for its summer entry Reckless.
Described as a sultry legal drama, the Charleston, S.C.-set Reckless centers on attractive Yankee litigator Jamie Sawyer (Anna Wood) and Southern city attorney Roy Rayder (Cam Gigandet), who struggle to hide their intense attraction while clashing over a police sex scandal. Created by Dana Stevens (Safe Haven, TV’s What About Brian), the hourlong series is out of the box for a network attuned to crime and legal procedurals.
For married executive producers Kim Moses and Ian Sander (Ghost Whisperer, Profiler), Reckless was partially borne out of the desire to “comment on reckless behavior” and also that the pair were “actively looking to do a show that is younger for the network.” In this case, that meant “pushing the envelope in terms of people’s behaviors, like NYPD Blue did [back then],” Sander tells The Hollywood Reporter, which premieres the opening two-minute scene from Sunday’s debut episode. “This is 2014, we’re looking to push that envelope in a similar way, i.e., people who should not be behaving in the way that they ultimately are.”
The clip begins with Officer Terry McCandless (Shawn Hatosy) pulling over a driver, Lee Anne Marcus (Georgina Haig), for what looks to be a routine traffic stop. But things quickly escalate when he orders a physical pat-down and has her up against a fence. “As you find out, these are two cops” who enjoy the role-playing, says Sander. Opening the show in this manner was a deliberate attempt “to grab an audience early — and then they can lean forward and watch the rest of the show,” Sander explains.
“So many shows open up with women being victimized. This is a show where it opens up with this woman in full control of what she’s doing. You think she’s victimized, because that’s the way we’ve been trained, but in fact, she’s in full control of what’s going on,” adds Moses, who notes that Reckless features several “strong women,” singling out Kim Wayans and Kelly Rutherford as examples. (The pilot was directed by Gigandet’s Twilight helmer, Catherine Hardwicke.)
They’re also confident the provocative premise will draw in women and men. “Our brand is female empowerment with a twist that brings in men, and we think this show embodies that,” she says. “That’s also what we did with Ghost Whisperer.” Moses and Sander produced the supernatural CBS drama that starred Jennifer Love Hewitt, which ran for five seasons from 2005-10 and generated more than 100 episodes.
Adding to the drama is the “Will they, won’t they” of opposing attorneys Jamie and Roy that serves as an undercurrent to the 13 episodes, with the prolonged courtship a product of the premise. “As we’re exploring everybody’s reckless behavior, here are two people — as you’re watching — who, hopefully, you’ll want to get together but must resist. If they were to be together that be bad for their clients as well as their careers, so they resist that,” says Sander, who puts emphasis on “the importance of romantic triangles.” They admit it’s a challenge to strike that balance of knowing when to move one step forward with the relationship and when to table it. “It is a tricky thing. When it works, it works really well,” he says.
And there will be at least two. Jamie is caught between two men: nice guy Roy, of course, and the well-respected Detective Preston Cruz (Adam Rodriguez), who has secrets. “She’s the fulcrum. There is a triangle there that we feel makes very good, sexy and juicy drama,” he says. The other centers on Terry, Lee Anne and Lee Anne’s husband.
Sander indicates that the season wraps “not quite [with] closure” and hints that “there is a blueprint” for a second season. As Reckless readies for its debut this weekend, it’s up to the viewers to decide if they want more.
Reckless premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on CBS.
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