EXCLUSIVE: Amazon Studios is finalizing deals for Criminal, a TV adaptation of Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips’ bestselling crime comic book series, sources tell Deadline.
Details are scarce but the project, written by Brubaker, who serves as executive producer and showrunner, is described as an interlocking universe of crime stories based on his award-winning comic book series. I hear a writers room for the potential series is up and running. A rep for Amazon Studios declined comment.
Nick Pepper, Amazon Studios’ Head of US SVOD TV Development and Series – Wholly Owned, and his lieutenant Matt King, Head of Tentpole, Genre and Universe Development of wholly owned content, are believed to have championed bringing in Criminal for development. As President of Legendary Television, Pepper signed Brubaker into a development deal there in 2019 and, along with EVP Development King, put Criminal in development at the indie studio, which is expected to get credit on the Amazon Studios’ version as a result. Those conversations are currently underway, sources said.
“Criminal tells the interweaving saga of several generations of families tied together by the crimes and murders of the past,” Brubaker explained to Deadline in a 2019 interview. “And one of the big events in many of these characters’ pasts, which has been referenced since the very first Criminal story, was the death of Teeg Lawless. Before we even met Teeg, we knew that he had died when his son was a teenager, but other than the identity of his killer, we have never told the rest of that story. It’s just been a ghost haunting the series, as Teeg Lawless has become one of the most popular characters in the comic.”
Brubaker is one of the most celebrated comic writers, receiving numerous accolades and winning both the Eisner and Harvey Awards for Best Writer five times. While writing for DC Comics, Brubaker revamped Catwoman with artist Darwyn Cooke, and was the co-creator of Gotham Central. His groundbreaking run on Marvel’s Captain America included the creation of the “Winter Soldier,” who has played a pivotal role in the Marvel movie franchise.
Brubaker is primarily known, however, for his multi-layered, episodic crime sagas. Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips have spent fifteen years creating a massive body of original work highly sought after for adaptation. Their series Criminal, Incognito, Fatale, The Fade Out, and Kill or be Killed have sold millions of copies internationally.
As a TV writer, Brubaker served as Supervising Producer on HBO’s Westworld, and, with director Nicolas Winding Refn, he co-created Amazon’s Too Old to Die Young, the first streaming series to debut at Cannes. He recently worked on Disney+’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and was co-showrunner of Batman: Caped Crusader, the animated series from executive producers Bruce Timm, J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves, which had a straight-to-series order from HBO Max and Cartoon Network.