The epic, years-long battle between Al Capone and Eliot Ness seems to get a new retelling every 30 years or so. Scarface and the Untouchable is the latest version, a TV series being developed for Showtime by Alex Kurtzman's Secret Hideout, run by Heather Kadin and CBS Studios. The series is based on the nonfiction book Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness and the Battle for Chicago by Max Allen Collins and A. Brad Schwartz. The series is being written by Ben Jacoby (Newsflash, Flash Boys. The book was published in 2018 and became a Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year. Scarface and the Untouchable was optioned by Secret Hideout and chronicles the lives of gangster Capone and his lawman nemesis, Ness in Prohibition-era Chicago. Publisher HarperCollins described it as "the new definitive history of gangster-era Chicago," the book "draws upon decades of primary source research—including the personal papers of Ness and his associates, newly released federal files, and long-forgotten crime magazines containing interviews with the gangsters and G-men themselves."
The show will offer a deep dive into prohibition-era politics, industrialization, mass media, the immigrant experience, law enforcement, and the birth of organized crime. It will span the roaring '20s into the Great Depression, from South Side slums all the way up to the White House. It will show how Capone corporatized crime on a level never that no one ever imagined, a uniquely American phenomenon, and how Ness, one of the most revolutionary cops in American history, fought an uphill battle to reform law enforcement, a battle that continues to this day. The story of Capone and Ness has been told numerous times on screen, starting with the original The Untouchables TV series from 1959 that was remade into the movie written by David Mamet and directed by Brian De Palma in 1987 starring Kevin Costner as Ness and Robert De Niro as Capone. Scarface and the Untouchable might be the most epic version of the story ever made.