Television Business International

The Son

Show of the Week: The Son

Pierce Brosnan’s return to television comes in the shape of AMC period piece The Son, which is the cable network’s attempt to tell the story of the birth of the US state of Texas.

The former James Bond plays Eli, the patriarch of the McCullough family, who was born on the day Texas was declared an independent republic and thusly the nickname ‘The First Son of Texas’.

“This is a multi-generational family story about the birth of Texas,” says Jenna Santoianni, executive VP of television series at producer and distributor Sonar Entertainment. “It’s about love and family, and how this can be taken away from you, and it’s about how empires are built.”

Eli’s story is one of tragedy, success and family, and is based on a Pulitzer-nominated book by Philipp Meyer, who adapted the book for television with Kevin Murphy as show runner, plus Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevey, with the financial backing of Sonar, which packaged the series and sold it to AMC.

Eli looks back at his life through his brutal worldview, which is informed by his childhood, during which he was kidnapped and raised by ruthless Comanche Native Americans after his white family are slaughtered.

Years later, after rejoining the white world, McCullough uses force to take over oil field and cattle ranches, and builds a empire. The means used to create his fortune, however, lock the McCullough family into an unending cycle of violence and conflict.

“The story is Pierce looking at three generations of his family and his legacy,” says Santoianni. “How does a man raised in an incredibly strange place become who he is today?”

Henry Garrett, Zahn McClarnon, Paola Nunez and Sydney Lucas co-star, but the draw is Brosnan in his first TV series starring role since NBC adventure drama Remington Steele, which ran between 1982 and 1987. He had replaced Sam O’Neill, who left for personal reasons.

“Pierce Brosnan is a great number one on the call sheet,” says Santoianni. “We were incredibly fortunate to get him to step in.”

The show: The Son
The producer: Sonar Entertainment, AMC Studios
The distributor: Sonar Entertainment
The broadcaster: AMC (US)
The concept: Multi-generational drama starring Pierce Brosnan as a brutal Texas prospector looking back at his storied life