James Gandolfini HBO Drama 'Criminal Justice' in Limbo After Actor's Death

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Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images

'Sopranos' fans, the entertainment community, and the world at large remain in shock over the tragic passing of actor James Gandolfini, who died earlier today in Italy of an apparent heart attack. The iconic actor had been preparing his return to HBO in the form of UK-adapted drama 'Criminal Justice,' of which a pilot episode had already been shot, but now remains in "limbo" as the pay-cable network mulls a decision on how to proceed.

Adapted from an award-winning 2008 BBC series, the Americanized ‘Criminal Justice’ was to feature 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 reps were unable to confirm any conclusive decision about the state of the series moving forward. The network originally passed on the pilot, but recently decided to move forward with the project as a limited seven-episode series. "We're all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family," HBO said in a statement Wednesday. "He was special man, a great talent, but more importantly a gentle and loving person who treated everyone no matter their title or position with equal respect. He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth and his humility. Our hearts go out to his wife and children during this terrible time. He will be deeply missed by all of us."

Gandolfini also left a number of additional projects in development, but here's hoping HBO makes the pilot of 'Criminal Justice' available as a testament to such an incredible, and inspiring actor. We've also put together some filmic remembrances of Gandolfini's legacy, and encourage fans to leave their sympathies and thoughts in the comments.

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