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Friday, July 22, 2011 10:09 am
Reading the Screen: The Firm
Posted by: David Pitt

I’ve always considered 1991′s The Firm to be, in terms of its story if not its writing (the author has markedly improved as a storyteller over the years), to be one of John Grisham’s better early novels.

I didn’t much like the 1993 Sydney Pollack movie, with Tom Cruise as Mitch McDeere, the law school grad who finds out the law firm he works for is a front for organized crime. I thought the movie sacrificed a lot of Grisham’s carefully laid out themes in favor of action or familiar thriller scenes.

It seemed to me then that the book would make a better television series, and, as usual, Hollywood has finally caught up to me, twenty years later. NBC is producing a series spun off from Grisham’s novel — I say “spun off” because, according to published reports (like this one at deadline.com, which gives us the welcome news that Josh Lucas has been cast as Mitch) , the series picks up ten years after the events of the novel, as Mitch emerges from the Witness Protection Program to discover that the past ain’t that far behind him after all.

I think Lucas is an excellent choice to play Mitch — he’s likable, but he can play hard-edged and nasty when the moment calls for it. One of the guys involved behind the scenes is Lukas Reiter, who’s produced character-driven legal dramas like The Practice, Boston Legal, and Close to Home.

I’ll be keeping an eye on The Firm. How about you?

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