Logline: A brilliant but misanthropic engineer recruits a skeptical Homeland Security agent to help him track a mysterious bank robber whose theft of 66 specific safety deposit boxes, belonging to the elite and powerful, sets in motion a series of blackmails that might be linked to a greater conspiracy. Based on the 2012 Belgian series.
Cast: Larenz Tate, Allison Miller, John Leguizamo, Neil Sandilands, Elaine Tan
Creators: Josh Applebaum (W / EP), Andre Nemec (W / EP), Jeff Pinkner (W / EP), Scott Rosenberg (W / EP), Avi Nir (EP), Alon Shtruzman (EP), Peter Traugott (EP), Rachel Kaplan (EP), Gary Fleder (D)
Studios: ABC Studios, Keshet, Beta
A conspiracy thriller reminiscent of films like The Parallax View and Behind Enemy Lines, Salamander is the second ABC pilot that didn’t quite need to be a pilot.
After being implicated in his brother Kevin’s murder and a mysterious, high-stakes bank robbery, Ethan goes on the run to prove his innocence and find out who committed the theft and murders, unwittingly plunging himself into a dangerous conspiracy for a new world order.
The pilot lays a strong story foundation. We’ve got an innocent man framed for a terrible crime. Together with his equally innocent psychiatrist love interest, we have a couple of compelling underdog protagonists with a strong relationship. We also have a dangerous, cold-blooded antagonist (Jack Wang) on a crazy mission, with a terrifying lack of concern for collateral damage.
Kevin’s murder helps establish strong empathy for Ethan, and also makes the central conflict extremely personal. I’m hooked. I want to see how Ethan deals with his predicament, and the scene of him finding Kevin’s dead body is a moving and surprising turning point at the end of the first act.
From a craft perspective, there’s a strong lesson to be learnt from the way Salamander manages information, giving us just enough to help us understand what’s going on, and withholding just enough to create a mystery and keep us engaged.
I think the “Ten Days in the Valley” page is mixing up two pilots: the logline and Paula Patton are from “Somewhere Between,” a different series. Ten Days in the Valley is about an overworked TV producer and is led by Kyra Sedgwick.