Though their critically acclaimed series Homeland has been gearing up for a return to Showtime later this month, co-executive producers Howard Gordon and Alex Cary have been keeping busy with other projects as well. Their latest endeavor, a series titled Ritter, has just been officially picked up for a development deal at NBC, and has several of the duo's previous collaborators also on board.
Like Homeland, Cary and Gordon are once again turning to foreign television for inspiration, and this time they found it in the Icelandic series Réttur. Described as "Jerry Maguire in a law firm," Ritter will reportedly feature a lawyer with an "unorthodox approach" who uses his profession like a "blunt instrument."
Deadline describes the character's contempt for the law as a major source of intrigue in the show, turning a typical set of law-based proceedings into something unique. It's certainly a stretch from Homeland's tales of espionage and national security, but will most likely feature some of the same compelling character drama that earned the Showtime series a Golden Globe win and an Emmy nomination.
Howard Gordon's production company, Teakwood Lane, and 20th Century Fox TV will be overseeing production on Ritter, but there's no word on who might step in to serve as showrunner. As we said, both Gordon and Cary should be fairly pre-occupied with Homeland's highly anticipated second season, so it should be some time after that when more Ritter details begin to appear.
Since NBC's recent financial struggles (most notably evidenced by their battle with Jay Leno over staffing), the network has begun to play their cards a little closer to the chest. For example, with one of their highest rated shows, The Office, closing up shop this season NBC doesn't appear to be wandering too far -- instead the network is looking to use the Dwight Schrute-centered The Farm as a replacement. Ostensibly NBC is replacing one "known quantity" with (potentially) another one.
Furthermore, shows like Community – genre-based affairs with a very niche audience – are becoming less and less common, overlooked in favor of a heavy-hitter. If picked up for a season order, Ritter could be that type of series, especially if it turns out anything like Homeland.
One of the major factors that will determine the success of Ritter will be its lead, the "Jerry Maguire" character. If NBC can find a strong male actor to assume that role, and leverage the courtroom drama in a unique fashion – which this series appears to be doing – that could be a winning formula.