Even though Cinemax is relatively new at attracting talent to its expanding line up of action-oriented dramas like Strike Back and Transporter, the network has managed to pull in some noteworthy names as of late. Now comes word that the channel has just ordered the pilot for William Petersen’s return to television in Hurt People.
Petersen serves as star and producer of the series, which aims to take the well-trodden notion of the hitman and spice it up with a hint of familial dysfunction. Hurt People follows Hollis Brown (Petersen), a hitman who is clearly concerned with his future employment prospects, since he remains in the employ of the same shadowy criminal organization that was responsible for his wife’s death. Adding to the dysfunction, Hollis is tasked by the same group to eliminate his own daughter, who has become hell-bent on destroying the group as retribution for her mother’s murder.
Needless to say, the holidays at the Brown home must be one heck of a dour affair.
Hurt People is from an original script by Peter Macmanus – previously an AMC production executive – and will be produced in conjunction with Graham King’s GK-tv, which produced last year’s short-lived fantasy series Camelot on Starz.
Other than the occasional guest appearance, Petersen has largely been out of the spotlight since calling it quits after nine seasons with CBS’s original CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The actor, however, has a slew of projects ready to go in the coming months. In addition to Hurt People, Petersen can be seen in this summer’s Steve Carell and Keira Knightley comedy, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, the recently released Detachment with Adrien Brody, and the television miniseries To Appomattox – in which he will play William Tecumseh Sherman.
Even though CSI has been successful with high-profile actors like Laurence Fishburne, Elisabeth Shue and Ted Danson shuffling into the vacancy created by Petersen’s departure, much of the show’s singular appeal was due to the nine years the actor spent portraying Gil Grissom – and separating the two has proven difficult. It will be interesting to see if fans have a similar reaction seeing Petersen as a slightly less heroic figure in this new series.
For Cinemax, however, the acquisition of Hurt People will add more juice to its stable of original content. In addition to ordering a second helping of the machismo-fueled, anti-terrorist series Strike Back, the network has the Alan Ball (True Blood) produced crime drama Banshee, as well as the Melissa George-led spy series Hunted. Eventually, Cinemax also plans to roll out Transporter, but an injury to series lead Chris Vance and two showrunner changes seriously delayed filming, likely pushing the premiere date back a few months.
While it’s just a pilot order for now, Hurt People stands a good chance of moving past that stage, as both Banshee and Hunted went straight to series, and Petersen’s global recognition from CSI will make the program perfect for international distribution.
Screen Rant will update with more on Hurt People as it moves into casting and production.