Michael Chiklis is set to head up another gritty drama as Paramount Network orders the U.S.-Mexico border drama Coyote. Since its recent rebranding from Spike, Paramount has been slowly building a catalog of original series with recognizable stars and prestige-y concepts. The network’s biggest hit to date is Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone, which in addition to starring Kevin Costner, was recently renewed for season 3 ahead of last week’s season 2 premiere. It looks now as though that series will serve as a template of sorts for the network’s ambitions on the drama front.
Though he’s had a long career in both film and television, including stints on FOX’s Gotham and ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as playing Ben Grimm, the ever-loving blue-eyed Thing, in Tim Story’s Fantastic Four films, he’s perhaps best known for playing antihero Vic Mackey in FX’s The Shield. That series ran for seven seasons and helped put FX on the map, delivering the sort of dark, gritty drama that filled with morally ambiguous characters that was incredibly popular at the time. It also paved the way for one of the network’s biggest hits in Sons of Anarchy, not only in tone and its commitment to violence and other adult content, but also because SOA creator Kurt Sutter was a staff writer on the show.
As reported by Variety, Chiklis will star in the new drama as Ben Clemens, a former border patrol agent who has to rethink the last three decades of his professional career when he finds himself in league with the people he spent every day trying to keep out of the United States. No doubt given the current political climate concerning immigration and news surrounding the treatment and detention of migrants at the borders, Coyote stands to be a hot-button series.
In addition to Chiklis, however, it was reported that director Michelle MacLaren will helm the pilot and serve as an executive producer on the series. MacLaren’s television credits underline her status as one of the top directors in television, as she’s worked on high-profile series like Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Game of Thrones, Westworld, The Deuce, The X-Files, The Walking Dead, and more. With her behind the pilot, it’s seemingly a given that Coyote will make an impression when it premieres.
As for Paramount Network, this latest addition to its lineup suggests the rebranded cabler is looking to follow in the footsteps of FX, as it looks to deliver compelling, edgy dramas with an emphasis on creators and well-known stars. The plan has worked out with regard to Yellowstone, so it will be interesting to see how things progress when Coyote premieres.
Coyote does not yet have a premiere date.