In the 1980s, Stephen J. Cannell was one of the most preeminent TV showrunners when it came to devising unique takes on the police procedural. His series Wiseguy, which he co-created with Frank Lupo, centered on a disgraced cop who, while serving time behind bars, makes a deal to work undercover for time off his sentence.
More than twenty years after it went off the air, the series is being re-imagined for a brand new audience at NBC, a network that has struggled when it comes to being the home of police procedural/investigation series. The last police program of any merit on the peacock was probably Homicide.
In the original Wiseguy, which ran on CBS for four seasons from 1987 to 1990, Ken Wahl starred as Michael Vincent “Vinnie” Terranova, the titular character who becomes an undercover agent as part of the fictional FBI division the Organized Crime Bureau.
Though the series only lasted four seasons, it was an early pioneer of the serial drama which would later be adopted by shows like 24 and others that used multiple arcs, instead of being standalone episodes.
The new Wiseguy series will be written by Alex Cary (of Showtime’s Homeland), and will be produced by 20th Century Fox Television and studio-based Chernin Entertainment.