Nellie Andreeva

Drama Criminal Justice, written by Richard Price directed by Oscar winner Steven Zaillian, and starring James Gandolfini, has been ordered by HBO as a seven-part limited series. The project, originally developed and piloted as a drama series, will now be retooled. The news comes three months after HBO passed on the pilot, which I hear has been garnering interest from other nets. Additionally, Gandolfini and Zaillian, after initially opting for an open-ended series, decided that a limited series would better serve the narrative.

Criminal Justice is a New York-set crime drama loosely inspired by the acclaimed 2008 BBC series of the same name created by Peter Moffat. Price is expected to write all episodes of the project, produced by HBO and BBC Worldwide Prods. I hear it stars Gandolfini as an ambulance-chasing New York City attorney who gets in over-his-head when he takes on the case of a Pakistani (Riz Ahmed) accused of murdering a girl on the Upper West Side. The series co-stars Bill Camp (Lincoln), Payman Maadi (A Separation), and Poorna Jagannathan. BBC Worldwide’s Jane Tranter is executive producing along with Zaillian, Price, Moffat, and Attaboy’s Gandolfini, Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders.  Film Rites’ Garrett Basch is producing. Additionally, Attaboy, which has an overall deal at HBO, has Big Dead Place in development at the network and recently set up movie Bone Wars starring Gandolfini Steve Carell at HBO Films.

Criminal Justice‘s pickup extends the big momentum limited series have enjoyed over the past few months. Today alone, Fox greenlighted two, 24: Live Another Day starring Kiefer Sutherland and M. Night Shyamalan’s Wayward Pines starring Matt Dillon.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.