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HBO may unite ‘True Detective’ creator with Robert Downey Jr. for new series

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The future of HBO’s once-hit series True Detective looks bleak, but the premium network may have bigger things in store for creator Nic Pizzolatto — including a series starring Robert Downey Jr. Both the actor and the writer are reportedly in talks to work on an upcoming HBO drama, Variety reports.

Little is known about the project at this point, but sources tell the publication that it will be a drama series based on Downey Jr.’s Perry Mason reboot. RDJ had been developing a film adaptation of the 1950s/’60s legal drama at Warner Bros., but the project is said to have been in the works at HBO since May or earlier. Pizzolatto is attached to pen the series and Downey Jr. to star, according to Variety’s sources.

The original Perry Mason was a legal drama that was broadcast on CBS from 1957 to 1962. The series was named after its protagonist: a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer played by Raymond Burr. Plotlines were based on detective stories by Erle Stanley Gardner, and they helped the series win over fans and critics alike.

The reboot wouldn’t be Downey Jr.’s first TV legal drama series. The actor had a recurring role on Ally McBeal in the early 2000s, playing the love interest of Calista Flockhart’s character. However, it has been a long time since he appeared in a TV series — aside from voicing a character in a 2005 episode of Family Guy, that was his last TV role.

In addition to starring in the HBO series, Downey Jr. would executive produce alongside his wife, Susan Downey, and Pizzolatto. Should Downey Jr. officially sign on, he may be able to help Pizzolatto bounce back from a disappointing second installment in the True Detective anthology series. While the show hasn’t officially been cancelled, the network has reportedly been looking to use Pizzolatto’s talents elsewhere. The Perry Mason remake could be just the project.

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