Show of the week: Rogue

Ten-part drama Rogue is the latest in a series of high-end US cop series. In the show, Thandie Newton (Crash, Mission: Impossible II) plays Grace, a cop embroiled in a relationship with a crime boss and who is tortured by the possibility that her actions contributed to the death of her son.

The show is being made by Greenroom Entertainment, Entertainment One and Momentum Entertainment Group for US pay TV operator DirecTV’s Audience Network (fka 101 Network).

Greenroom’s Nick Hamm, a former Royal Shakespeare Society director and producer and director of Killing Bono, will direct.
It will be distributed by eOne, which will be launching internationally at MIPTV.

As well as Newton, the show stars Marton Csokas (The Bourne Supremecy) and Ian Hart (Luck), Claudia Ferri (The Killing), Joshua Sasse (The Big I Am) and Jonathan Holmes (Nightwatching).

“Thandie Newton plays a dark, conflicted, really multi-faceted character,” explains John Morayniss, CEO of eOne Television. “The result is much more compelling than a straight procedural.”

Morayniss says the fact that Newton is on board will be a terrific lift for the show’s international sales push. “We’re seeing more marquee acting talent attracted to TV and there are a couple of good reasons for that. One is that serialised drama with complex characters is making a comeback: because of the growth in digital on-demand, networks are no longer worried that audiences will miss an episode and go away. This means there are more interesting parts to play. The other reason is that cable channels are commissioning shorter runs of ten episodes instead of 13 or 22. This suits top actors better because it means bigger gaps between seasons for other jobs.”

The project was initially developed for UK broadcasters, but ended up landing at DirecTV in the US, with the pay TV operator making it the first original project for its in-house channel Audience Network (fka 101 Network).

Taking Rogue to the US worked in its favour creatively, says its writer and creator Matthew Parkhill (The Caller). “I lied when I said it could be done as a three-parter,I had a lot more story I wanted to tell,” he says. “There was a bigger show to be made and we wanted to explore modern American crime and, visually, to give it a filmic feel.”

The view of criminality in the US is, the producers say, not the one usually portrayed and not the “gangsters in tracksuits eating meatballs” seen many times before. The high body count clears the way for new characters to be introduced and Parkhill says he has sketched out subsequent seasons should they get greenlit.

The show marks the next stage of DirecTV’s programming strategy for Audience Network. Having revived NFL drama Friday Night Lights and Glenn Close legal drama Damages this its first

“We wanted something truly original that we could incubate and grow,” says Patty Ishimoto, vice president, entertainment and GM, Audience Network and n3D. “We saw that as a natural progression from what we had been doing.”

The show will debut on Audience Network on Wednesday April 3 – Wednesday is DirecTV’s traditional drama slot – and be repeated on Sundays.

The Canada-UK coproduction will also air on The Movie Network and Movie Central in Canada.

The show: Rogue

The producer: Entertainment One, Greenroom Entertainment
The distributor: Entertainment One

The broadcaster: Audience Network (US)
Concept: A female undercover cop tries to find out who is responsible for the drive-by shooting of her young son

Thandie Newton, Matthew Parkhill, Nick Hamm, Patti Ishimoto and eOne’s Peter Emerson will be discussing Rogue in a special Masterclass at MIPTV. The session will take place on Tuesday, April 9, in Auditorium A of the Palais des Festivals. TBI editor Stewart Clarke will be moderating.