CBS Developing James Ellroy's 'L.A. Confidential' For Series

cbs james ellroy la confidential

You have to hand it to CBS this week: the network is making moves to change people's perceptions of CBS as just "The Land that C.S.I. Built." To that end, the "Eye Network" is looking to adapt James Ellroy's classic crime novel L.A. Confidential for a television series. New Regency, Lionsgate Television and CBS Television Studios will produce, with New Regency's Arnon Milchan serving as executive producer. Jordan Harper (Gotham, The Mentalist) is set to write and executive produce the series.

CBS's adapted series would follow the paths of three homicide detectives, a female reporter, and a Hollywood actress as they intersect during the detectives' pursuit of a sadistic serial killer through the shady underworld of 1950's Los Angeles.

cbs james ellroy la confidential

Here's a brief synopsis of Ellroy's novel to give you a sense of the series:

"L.A. Confidential is an epic crime novel that stands as a steel-edged time capsule—Los Angeles in the 1950s, a remarkable era defined in dark shadings.

A horrific mass murder invades the lives of victims and victimizers on both sides of the law—three cops treading quicksand in the middle. Detective Ed Exley wants glory. Haunted by his father's success as a policeman, he will pay any price, break any law, to eclipse him. Detective Bud White watched his own father murder his mother. He is now bent on random vengeance, a time bomb with a badge."

cbs james ellroy la confidential

L.A. Confidential was first published in 1990 as the third part of Ellroy's original L.A. Quartet, which also includes The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, and White Jazz. In 1997, L.A. Confidential was adapted into a critically acclaimed film directed by the late Curtis Hanson and starring Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger, Russel Crowe, Kevin Spacey, James Cromwell, and Danny DeVito. Basinger would go on to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress; while Hanson and Brian Helgeland would take home the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

An L.A. Confidential series was originally ordered to pilot 2003 after the success of the film, but was never picked-up for series. In 2013, Ellroy himself attempted to sell a sequel series to several networks but to no avail.

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought on board as staff in 2017.

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