‘Presumed Innocent’ Limited Series Adaptation From David E. Kelley & J.J. Abrams Ordered At Apple

Apple TV+ have ordered a limited series adaptation based on Scott Turow‘s novel Presumed Innocent.

The series will be eight episodes and will see David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Big Little Lies) teaming up with J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot banner. Kelley will serve as showrunner and writer, with Abrams and Bad Robot’s Head of Television, Ben Stephenson, as executive producers.

Originally published in 1987, Presumed Innocent focuses on the murder of Carolyn Polhemus that upends the Chicago Prosecuting Attorneys’ office when one of its own is suspected of the crime. The book is told through the perspective of Kindle County prosecutor and colleague of the murdered, Rožat ‘Rusty’ Sabich, who is charged with the murder.

Sabich has to fight to clear his name but also to keep his life from falling apart. The novel was previously adapted into the 1990 film that starred Harrison Ford, which was well received and is now a relic of a recent past, where courtroom thrillers were a multiplex staple. To prove how much things have changed – Presumed Innocent was the eighth highest grossing film of 1990.

That genre has migrated to television over the last few decades, as evidenced by this announcement. But Apple could do far worse than adapt a well-liked novel that already has a built-in audience. It also should appeal to those who love the true crime genre, as it follows a similar (albeit fictional) structure too many of those shows.

Kelley is currently working on several other projects, which include a limited series adaptation of Tom Wolfe‘s novel A Man In Full starring Regina King, and a series adaptation of The Lincoln Lawyer, both of which are in development for Netflix.

Abrams’ Bad Robot is producing an adaptation of Stephen King‘s novel Billy Summers. They’ve worked with Apple before on Little Voice and Lisey’s Story.

Kelley is an incredibly proficient producer and one of the few screenwriters to have created shows that have aired on all four top commercial U.S. television networks. Combine him with a production company that Apple have experience with and a novel that has already proven to work on screen, and this feels like a pretty safe bet for Apple.

We now wait for word on casting details for Presumed Innocent.


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