The film and TV industry is one built upon ideas. Some are amazing – while others don’t quite work. Thus far – under the direction of producer Mark Gordon – ABC’s Quantico seems to have been a great idea for the network; the problem is some people are now alleging that the idea was theirs first, and not Gordon’s at all.
Quantico producer Gordon – along with his aptly named Mark Gordon Company – have been served with a lawsuit from producer Paula Paizes and filmmakers Barbara Leibovitz Hellman and Jamie Hellman. The trio asserts that Gordon’s Quantico is a rip off of a documentary they produced in 2002. Titled Quantico: The Making of an FBI Agent, the film – which aired on CNN – chronicled the Hellmans as they immersed themselves in a rigorous FBI program for 16 weeks, following the potential FBI recruits as they progressed.
According to THR, those involved with the lawsuit have prior working history with Gordon, and claim to have – over the course of their professional relationships – provided him with information on Quantico not readily available upon watching the documentary. Furthermore, Paizes says she worked with Gordon to adapt the material into a feature, but then expressed interest in creating a drama based on the script more than a decade ago. She alleges that Gordon shared her enthusiasm, but never followed up on the matter until Quantico was announced last year.
The case is built upon the plaintiff’s claim that the show bears too many similarities to their own notes to be pure coincidence. They assert that Gordon – who retained all of their material from the documentary – used their work to create a show that would have otherwise been impossible. Just like the documentary, Quantico tells a story -- albeit a fictionalized version -- of FBI recruits as they live and train at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Check out the trailer below to draw comparisons for yourself.
Lawsuits of this nature are not necessarily uncommon in Hollywood. It’s a collaborative business based purely on the development of intellectual property. Earlier this year Joss Whedon took a great deal of flak when he was sued by author Peter Gallagher, who claimed that Cabin In the Woods was a beat for beat rip-off of his own novel The Little White Trip: A Night In The Pines. MGM similarly threatened legal action against Universal when the latter studio was preparing to produce a film that allegedly ripped of one of MGM’s most beloved franchises: James Bond.
Only time will tell how this lawsuit pans out. Until then, you can check out Quantico every Sunday on ABC at 10 p.m. ET.