HBO News Blog

De Niro Replaces Gandolfini in CRIMINAL JUSTICE!

By Jef Dinsmore on Sep 25, 2013 to The Night of


This writer for HBOWatch has a post in early draft wondering about what was going to happen to James Gandolfini’s unfinished cinematic business and now part of that mystery has been answered. HBoWatch is happy to report the following news.

The HBO project CRIMINAL JUSTICE is not a dead project as acclaimed actor Robert De Niro has taken on the project and the lead role. The work was to be a seven-part limited series starring Mr. G. under the direction of Steve Zaillian. Mr. Z. is still on board and Gandolfini will still get producing credit.

Mr. De Niro will take over the role as an ambulance-chasing New York City attorney, the role originally played by Gandolfini, who gets in over-his-head when he takes on the case of a Pakistani accused of murdering a girl on the Upper West Side. De Niro joins originally cast Riz Ahmed, Bill Camp, Payman Maadi and Poorna Jagannathan in the project.

 Slight changes, however, will be made to the intended work. De Niro did not commit to a series, even though it was only a limited one, but now with his Tribeca fFlms also on board, CRIMINAL JUSTICE will be marketed & promoted as a seven-hour miniseries for HBO. A pilot, that went before HBO executives and was originally passed over, was the only film shot and De Niro will just have to reshoot those scenes. However, according to, that work should not be too difficult as the lawyer character does not appear in too much of the first hour.  That site also claims that filming will not get underway until March of 2014.

PEOPLE_GandolfiniApparently, after the untimely death of Mr. G. HBO and Mr. Zaillian had a discussion about the project about recasting the role as a way of honoring Gandolfini’s memory. The best person to come to mind was Robert De Niro and he accepted. HBO, Steve Zaillian and Robert De Niro are out to honor James Gandolfini. Hell, just think of it as one “wise guy” helping out another – think of it as Vito Corleone (from The Godfather Part II) giving a helping hand to our beloved Tony Soprano.


 HBOWatch will have more on this piece as it develops. Welcome to HBO Mr. De Niro, don’t be a stranger!

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3 Comments on "De Niro Replaces Gandolfini in CRIMINAL JUSTICE!"

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I knew this would eventually end up seeing the light of the day, but I figured it would do so under the guise of the second season of True Detective. It seems now that it has to be labeled as a miniseries for contractual reasons, so that is probably not the way it’ll work out. In any case, I’m glad that this is going to go forward, and (for the first time in a good long while) I’m excited about DeNiro joining the cast. Shooting in March would seem to indicate that they’ll be looking to air this in the… Read more »

Robert de Niro is a good strong “get” for the pay channel. If Mr. de N. wants to enter the cinematic world of television than surely he would want to do something with a network known for its high standards.Plus, he can leave his mark with a less time consuming miniseries as opposed to a series commitment.

This should be a win-win for everoyone invloved including the viewer.

I think that this is great news, given the unfortunate circumstances. De Niro was great back in the day, but seems to be stuck playing a caricature of himself in recent years. Hopefully this will be the reemergence De Niro as he used to be. We may see another character as great as Neil McCauley from Heat!


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