Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

In Wolf's New 'Deadline,' the Detective Is a Reporter

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

In Wolf's New 'Deadline,' the Detective Is a Reporter

Article excerpt

Above the smog of Los Angeles, a small coterie of writers and producers breathe a rarefied air few in this town ever inhale. They are the showrunners, individuals responsible for running a TV show, a few of whom can sell a new series on their reputations alone.

Although he plays down the power of his position, producer- writer Dick Wolf is one of this elite.

Mr. Wolf is the creator of one of NBC's most widely hyped new dramas, "Deadline" (Mondays, 9-10 p.m.), which stars Oliver Platt as a New York tabloid newspaper columnist. Wolf sold "Deadline" without producing a pilot, a must for almost all writer-producers in Hollywood. A three-minute trailer did the job. In addition to "Deadline," Wolf has four shows on TV this fall (and a fifth on the way), including the second-longest-running drama on TV - "Law & Order." Now in its 11th year, Wolf hopes the show will outdo "Gunsmoke," the record holder at 20.

This New Yorker eschews California's open-necked silk shirts and instead sports a suit and tie.

"I was a screenwriter for 10 years," says Wolf, who worked in advertising for eight years prior to that. He says he left the movie business out of frustration with the process. "You can get old waiting for pictures to get made."

He just wants to work, Wolf says, which is one of the biggest reasons that the man many call a consummate storyteller went from the large to small screen.

His latest show pulls together his favorite themes: crime and punishment, as well as what he calls the thread that unites all his work, "shining a light on the darker parts of the human condition."

After years of mining the law-enforcement world for stories, journalism held out yet another way to feed his love of detective work. It began in childhood through his encounter with Sherlock Holmes in the Arthur Conan Doyle books. …

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