It had been reported over the last year multiple times that Ridley Scott was planning to direct a feature film adaptation of Don Winslow‘s best-selling novel, The Cartel. However, that project is dead, but for good reason; FX have announced that it has landed the rights to Winslow’s Cartel trilogy, and will adapt all three books into a TV series.
Scott will be an executive producer on the series, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be too involved. Winslow is also producing alongside Shane Salerno, who will co-write the pilot episode. A writer and showrunner will be announced soon, although Winslow and Salerno will be “closely involved in shaping and sustaining the series”, per FX.
Winslow’s trilogy is a sprawling chronicle of ‘the War on Drugs’. It follows a DEA agent named Art Keller on a harrowing 45-year journey through brutal Mexican cartel power struggles, traffickers and drug mules, the narcos and cops on both side of the border, and rampant political corruption. It should be a very relevant series for the current political climate.
Although it would have been fascinating to see what Scott could have done with the material, a trilogy of this scope probably deserves the longer cycle of a TV series. Landing on FX is a coup, as the network has proven to produce high quality television, such as The Americans and Legion.
With the streaming wars about the get very heated, traditional TV networks are also having to make some serious moves to stay afloat. In addition to The Cartel, FX also have the long-awaited Y: The Last Man series coming later this year, as well as Annihilation director Alex Garland‘s sci-fi series, Devs.
There’s no word yet on when The Cartel will head into production, but this likely becomes a high priority for the channel.