Novel adaptations have become prestige television fodder recently, starting with successful adaptations of books like Big Little Lies, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Man in the High Castle. It isn’t a bad thing, ideas all have to come from somewhere. It simply seems like TV, not movies, is taking the adaptation road. Maybe it’s a good thing, seeing as most film adaptations of books don’t translate well because of time constraints and franchise films drowning out indies and the like.
And that’s okay, especially with the news that David E. Kelley, popular and prolific writer of shows like The Practice, Boston Legal, and, yes, Big Little Lies, is adapting Sarah Vaughan’s 2017 novel Anatomy of a Scandal. The good news? It’s going to Netflix. The extra good news? Kelley is teaming up with House of Cards executive producer Melissa James Gibson and Jessica Jones director SJ Clarkson for the show.
Clarkson will direct and produce all six episodes of the anthology series. According to Deadline, future potential seasons will focus on different scandals. Anthology series are also having their moment.
Anatomy of a Scandal will look a little different than Kelley’s last big gig Big Little Lies. Unlike Big Little Lies, which transplanted the drama from Australia to California, it appears that Anatomy of a Scandal will keep the action in England. Part psychological thriller and part courtroom drama, the novel follows a junior minister – who happens to be friends with the PM – who is arrested for rape.
The novel’s synopsis reads:
Sophie Whitehouse has a lovely home, two adorable children, and a handsome, successful husband. In other words, she has the “perfect” life. But everything changes the night her husband James comes home and confesses an indiscretion. Suddenly, her neat, ordered world is turned upside down. Did she ever really know the man she married?
And, as it turns out, James’s revelation is just the tip of the iceberg. He stands accused of a terrible crime. But, the truth is even more shocking than anyone ever could have thought. Is James the guilty perpetrator or an innocent victim of a toxic agenda?
In this riveting story of love, revenge, and deception, no one’s motives are pure, but some people’s secrets are much darker than others.
Kelley’s no stranger to the courtroom drama, so there’s no doubt that this show is definitely in good hands.
This is Kelley’s first foray into the Netflix landscape, having previously written for HBO and Amazon (and a slew of other networks), though the Amazon deal didn’t age very well.
Anatomy of a Scandal was supposed to start filming in the UK this year, but the coronavirus pandemic has pushed back filming to an unknown date.