AMC announced today from the Television Critics’ Association (TCA) Press Tour that Emmy Award-winner Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Lovecraft Country, Genius) will star in its upcoming thrilling courtroom drama 61st Street, from BAFTA-winner Peter Moffat (Criminal Justice, The Night Of, Your Honor) and executive-produced by Michael B. Jordan and Alana Mayo of Outlier Society (Just Mercy, David Makes Man).
61st Street -- which has been ordered as a two-season television event with eight episodes per season and is set to debut in 2021 -- is a propulsive courtroom drama that follows Moses Johnson, a promising, black high school athlete, who is swept up into the infamously corrupt Chicago criminal justice system. Taken by the police as a supposed gang member, he finds himself in the eye of the storm as police and prosecutors seek revenge for the death of an officer during a drug bust gone wrong.
Vance will portray Franklin Roberts, a public defender in the twilight of his career serving the busiest courthouse in America. After promising his wife he’d retire to spend more time with their seventeen-year-old autistic son, Franklin realizes Moses Johnson is the case of a lifetime, one that can upend the entire Chicago judicial system, challenging the institutional racism and endemic corruption at its heart.
Most recently, Vance joined the cast of Nat Geo’s Genius. His upcoming films include the Universal romantic drama The Photograph and Netflix’s Uncorked, and he will also appear in HBO’s upcoming Lovecraft Country. Last year, he co-starred in Ben is Back, alongside Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges. Other recent film work has included Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, the reboot of The Mummy, Office Christmas Party and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. On television, in addition to his Emmy Award-winning role as Johnnie Cochran on FX’s The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Vance has appeared in ABC’s Scandal and Revenge, Showtime’s Masters of Sex, NBC’s ER and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and TNT’s The Closer. Notably, last year, Vance was announced as the new President of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, succeeding actress JoBeth Williams.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have the phenomenal Courtney B. Vance returning to the courtroom for 61st Street," Sarah Barnett, President of AMC Networks Entertainment Group and AMC Studios, said in a statement. "Courtney is the cornerstone of what’s sure to be a stellar ensemble for this ambitious and highly entertaining drama.”
61st Street is executive-produced by Jordan, Mayo and Hilary Salmon (MotherFatherSon, The Night Of, London Spy). Moffat serves as showrunner and executive producer alongside J. David Shanks (The Chi, Seven Seconds, Shots Fired).
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