Note, however, that Anthony “Tony” Soprano is not returning. Of course, that character, played by Gandolfini for six seasons, is still an iconic symbol of quality HBO programming. The greatly enjoyed character is still out there in the ether eating onion rings. The person personifying him, however, returns to the scene of the crime with a new show in the works entitled CRIMINAL JUSTICE.
The show comes to the U. S. from an award winning 2008 United Kingdom production and HBO has granted a pilot order for the idea that hopefully translates into another series for Mr. G. The original series consisted of two five-episode seasons. HBO’s version follows the plot of the first season of the BBC series. If that is the case than the other HBO show considered by Gandolfini, BIG DEAD PLACE, which was an Antarctica based story, is not happening. He was last on HBO in the HBO FILM: CINEMA VERITE in 2011.
In this new work Mr. G plays Jack Stone, a disheveled jailhouse lawyer wearing cheap suits and sandals, who trolls for clients at police precincts. The show ends up chronicling the journey of those clients as they deal with the criminal justice system. Each season would feature new characters and cast. The first season’s story features an American-born Pakistani named Naz. He is a young man who takes his father’s cab for a drive and picks up a party girl who takes him to her apartment for a drunken and drug-filled night out. When he wakes up in the morning, Ben finds the girl stabbed to death and, though he can’t remember committing the crime, he is soon charged with it. Taking on his case is Jack Stone.
This pilot, produced by HBO in association with BBC Worldwide Productions was written by Oscar nominee Richard Price (“The Color of Money” and HBO’s THE WIRE) and will be directed by Oscar winner Steven Zaillian (screenwriter of “Schidler’s List”). The ensemble cast includes Rizwan Ahmed as Nas, Bill Camp as the lead detective on the case and Peyman Moadi & Poorna Jagannathan play Naz’s father and mother respectively. James Gandolfinin will also serve as an executive producer. CRIMINAL JUSTICE is slated to shoot in New York yet this fall. The title shoot pictured here is from the BBC version.
So, what do you think HBO fans? Do you like James Gandolfini’s work? If you do you might want to re-watch some of Gandolfini’s finest work; just go to HBOGO or own your own DVD copies of THE SOPRANOS and CINEMA VERITE. Also, are you glad to see Mr. G making his way back to series TV on the pay channel? Let us know what you think.