Talk about an odd couple. If sources close to the project are to be believed, Fox’s latest dramatic venture In Deep will combine the crime and corruption of The Sopranos with the soap opera pseudo-romantics of Desperate Housewives.
In Deep, which may not be the project’s final title, follows the life of a female FBI agent on an assignment in Chicago’s organized crime syndicate.
In a compelling twist on the usual formula, the agent impersonates a made woman, a mob boss’s wife or girlfriend. Plenty of Departed-style undercover action and Housewives under cover drama would seem to be on tap. This could be an exciting combination of crime dramas and prime time soaps, two genres that have grown increasingly stale in the last few years. However, Fox will need to walk a fine line to keep male viewers interested in the cops and robbers fun while the ladies follow the character development. This calls for an experienced cast and talented writers - if the series is make it more than a season or so.
The project is being headlined by Kathleen “Bird” York, who will be writing and executive producing the pilot. The songwriter and actress had a small part in Crash and a recurring role in The West Wing, but York has seen more success with her music. In addition to writing and performing Crash’s end credit song, she’s had similar musical exposure in House, CSI: NY, Nip/Tuck, and the 2008 Will Smith vehicle Seven Pounds. This will be her first time in a position with creative control.
The only other name attached, for now, is Gary Randall, who will co-executive produce with York. His recent work includes executive production credits on TNT’s Saving Grace and A&E’s The Glades, both police procedural dramas. While no casting information is available, York has been making the rounds on network shows and is a good bet for the female lead. That said, Fox will need to get some bigger names on both sides of the camera if they want to drum up more excitement for the project.
While the hook is compelling, Fox has a long history of killing shows before they can find their feet. Lone Star was the latest in a long line of fledgling shows canceled in their first season. While met with critical applause, Lone Star received abysmal ratings and had its wings clipped after only two episodes. Cult classic Firefly met a similar fate in 2003. Fans of canceled Fox shows are quick to point out the network’s habit of under-advertising, time-slot shifting, and putting young series up against well-established shows on rival networks.
Only time will tell if In Deep can survive Fox’s lack of faith in new material.