Warner Bros. Pictures
The African-American private investigator who inspired Raymond Chandler’s fictional character Philip Marlowe is getting his own series from the CW. The network is working with producer Aaron Kaplan to develop MARLOWE, with Devon Greggory writing the script and co-executive producing with Kaplan.
The series will take place in 1937 Los Angeles and follow Samuel Marlowe as he investigates various crimes, from mansions to back alleys. It will also tackle current-day issues through a historical lens and feature contemporary music.
The source material for the series comes from Louise Ransil, a Launch Pad alum, who wrote a feature script about Marlowe, landing in the Top 25 of the 2013 Feature Competition. In 2014, the Los Angeles Times wrote up a feature on Marlowe and her script. She originally brought the project to Kaplan and will co-executive produce with him.
The character of Philip Marlowe first appeared in Chandler’s 1939 novel The Big Sleep and then went on to star in other short stories and radio shows. He has been depicted several times on screen, perhaps most famously by Classic Hollywood actor Humphrey Bogart in the 1946 adaptation of The Big Sleep with Lauren Bacall. Other names who have portrayed him include Dick Powell, Danny Glover, and James Caan.
He has also been the lead character on television before in Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, airing on ITV in the U.K. and HBO in the U.S. during the 1980s, and before then on ABC from 1959 to 1960 in a half-hour series.
This is not the first time the character has been revived recently. ABC worked on two television series to bring back the detective, once in 2013 with Castle creators and before that in 2007, but neither project moved forward.
This is latest of many sales for Kaplan, who also has projects in development at all the other major networks.
Anya Crittenton | Associate Editor