Walton Goggins is the first star to sign on to CBS’ upcoming adaptation of L.A. Confidential, and the character he’s playing hints at some potential future casting to come. The new adaptation of the acclaimed novel by author James Ellroy is actually the third go-round for the story of Los Angeles cops in the 1950s, with the 1997 Academy Award-winning film being the first and a series starring Kiefer Sutherland and Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn making its way to the pilot stages 2003, without ever being picked up. With Goggins’ involvement, this new attempt to bring the novel to TV has taken a big step toward making it all the way to series.
Goggins is perhaps best known for his role as one-time coal miner and all-around ne’er do-well Boyd Crowder on FX’s Justified, so it should come as no surprise that he will reportedly take on the role of Jack Vincennes. In the novel, Vincennes was a narcotics detective with a drug habit who was moved to anti-vice. That suited him fine as he loved the spotlight and subsequently sold tips to the Hollywood scandal sheets on the side.
In the film, Vincennes was played by Kevin Spacey and many of the character’s harder edges were rounded down significantly from the source material. Considering the series is in development at CBS, it stands to reason Goggins’ version of Vincennes will likely land somewhere in the middle, perhaps with a few more of his vices on display to help give the series more bite. As reported by THR, Goggins’ Vincennes will be one of three homicide detectives, along with a female reporter and a young actress that will lead the series’ cast of characters.
With confirmation that Vincennes will be in the series, it stands to reason the other two cop characters will be Wendell ‘Bud’ White and Edmund ‘Ed’ Exley, portrayed by Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce, respectively. That should give fans of the material plenty to speculate on until further casting is announced. As for who the female reporter, is, well that could be a gender swapped version of Sid Hudgens, a tabloid reporter who paid Vincennes for tips and was played by Danny DeVito in the film. Then again, it could well be an entirely new character devised for the series.
The news of Goggins joining the series also included mention that the plot would revolve around the three detectives investigating a serial killer. While some sort of deviation from the sprawling police corruption storyline of the novel was to be expected, the fact that CBS would want yet another show about cops hunting down serial killers is really no surprise at all. Still, with the period trappings of the novel and film at the show’s disposal, as well as a charismatic lead in Goggins, perhaps this new take on L.A. Confidential will have some welcome surprises up its sleeve should it make it to series.