For many years, actress Hayley Atwell was a dependable name in the U.K., where she was born and raised. Even after taking the role of Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger, her roles were mostly in across-the-pond productions. But it looks like the U.S. is trying to cement her presence in Hollywood, as the actress will build her relationship with ABC, where she’s known for Marvel’s period drama Agent Carter, by taking the lead in a new pilot called Conviction.
Conviction sounds about as far from a Marvel project as can be, and one that is tapping into the recent wave of true crime adoration, as Atwell will play a new recruit at L.A.’s newly established Conviction Integrity Unit, which focuses on looking at criminal cases where it looks like an innocent person has been convicted of something he or she didn’t do. I guess calling it The Innocence Project: The Series would have been too on the nose.
Atwell’s character will be brilliant, naturally, and also a bit of a rebel within her high-profile politically-tied family, and she will be taking on this new job against her wishes. She’ll work with a team of lawyers, investigators and forensic experts in taking on cases, and while it isn’t stated directly, it seems like this would fall into more procedural territories than serialized ones if the pilot gets ordered to series. That said, it takes a long time to investigate cases to the point of getting innocent people out of jail, so perhaps it’ll be one where each season is dedicated to just one or two cases.
People are obviously going to be wondering about whether or not this show will have any adverse effects on the future of Agent Carter. According to TVLine, the details are being worked out so that a Season 3 order from ABC – which isn’t exactly a sure thing – and a series order for Conviction would be finagled so that Atwell could take both roles. Marvel and ABC would assumedly love to keep the currently-airing show on the schedule for more movie references and ties to the MCU, so here’s hoping that the show’s limited nature works in its favor in getting renewed.
Conviction is the creation of Liz Friedman, a writer/producer on Elementary and Jessica Jones (Marvel synergy!), and Liz Friedlander, a director on such TV series as The Following and the shortlived drama Stalker, among many others. Friedman penned the script, while Friedlander will be behind the camera for the pilot. TV mega-producer Mark Gordon is also part of the crew.
With people going through obsessive periods over Netflix’s Making a Murderer and the podcast Serial, projects that posed the question of how guilty its central prisoners were, it seems like a scripted series taking the same narrative approach could really work. We’ll just have to have to hope it’s guilty of being engrossing, and innocent of…whatever ends this properly.