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James Gandolfini’s ‘Criminal Justice’: HBO Passes on the Pilot

HBO Criminal Justice James Gandolfini
Angela Weiss, Getty Images

Sorry folks, but Tony Soprano isn’t coming back to HBO just yet. Despite a fairly high-profile project the pay-cable network has officially passed on the James Gandolfini-fronted pilot ‘Criminal Justice,’ adapted from the 2008 Peter Moffatt BBC crime drama of the same name. Of course, Gandolfini still retains his partnership with the network, having appeared in HBO Pictures’ ‘Cinema Verite’ and executive produced the recent ‘Hemingway and Gellhorn’ but what about ‘Criminal Justice’ couldn’t HBO get behind?

As pilot season rages on, prestigious pay-cable network HBO has put up its first major loss, declining to pick up its UK-adapted pilot crime drama ‘Criminal Justice’ with James Gandolfini in a leading role. Adapted from an award-winning 2008 BBC series, the Americanized ‘Criminal Justice’ would have followed Gandolfini as Jack Stone, a “downtrodden jailhouse attorney who frequents police stations for clients.” In his search, the character encounters Naz (Rizwan Ahmed), an American-born Pakistani with no memory of his accused crime of stabbing to death a young woman he’d met.

Having shot this November, the pilot also co-stars Bill Camp as Box, Peyman Moadi as Salim Kahn and Poorna Jagannathan as Safar Kahn, Naz’s parents. ‘Schindler’s List’ Oscar-winning writer Steven Zaillian both directed and co-wrote the pilot, with Oscar-nominee Richard Price. HBO executive produced the project in association with BBC Worldwide, along with Zaillian, Price, Jane Tranter, Moffat, Garrett Basch, Nancy Sanders, Mark Armstrong and Gandolfini himself.

Unlike the the original BBC series, which ran for two five-episode seasons, the series would have kept on with James Gandolfini across multiple seasons instead of hiring a new cast each time.

What say you? Are you sad to see James Gandolfini won’t return to HBO for ‘Criminal Justice?’ Where would you like to see the ‘Sopranos’ star land next?

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