James Gandolfini Returns To HBO With ‘Criminal Justice’

"The Sopranos" star will headline a new drama pilot while playing a criminal defense lawyer.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Five years after "The Sopranos" came to an end, James Gandolfini is coming home to HBO.

Deadline is reporting that Gandolfini is set to star in a new HBO drama pilot, "Criminal Justice," which is based upon the BBC series with the same name. The original "Criminal Justice" TV series followed new characters each season as it told the tale of one person who is charged with murder as they make their way through the justice system. In the U.S. version, Gandolfini will play Jack Stone, "a disheveled jailhouse lawyer wearing cheap suits and sandals, who trolls for clients at police precincts."

In the pilot episode, Stone is drawn to a American-born Pakistani named Naz (Rizwan Ahmed); who is imprisoned for a murder which even he is not sure whether he committed or not. Stone appoints himself Naz's attorney after seeing him in a holding cell. If "Criminal Justice" goes to series and gets a second season, Gandolfini would stay on to portray Stone in the next storyline.

Some of the major casting decisions appear to have already been made. Bill Camp has been cast as the lead detective of Naz's case, while Peyman Moadi and Poorna Jagannathan will play Naz's parents.

The new "Criminal Justice" is being written by Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List) and Richard Price (The Color Of Money), with Zaillian also slated to direct the pilot episode. Gandolfini will executive produce the project alongside Zaillian, Price,  Jane Tranter and Peter Moffat, the creator of the original BBC "Criminal Justice."

If "Criminal Justice" goes forward, it will be Gandolfini's first TV series since "The Sopranos." In the intervening years, Gandolfini has also maintained his close relationship to HBO by starring in the TV movie, Cinema Verite and producing Hemingway & Gellhorn as well as the documentaries "Alive Day: Home from Iraq" and "Wartorn: 1861–2010."