Rosenberg moves from undead to 'Red'
Posted January 10, 2013
Having written for vampires and serial killers, Melissa Rosenberg is moving on to a Mob Widow.
Best known as the writer of the Twilight Saga films and as the head writer of Showtime's Dexter, Rosenberg's next show is ABC's Red Widow, which debuts March 3. The eight-episode crime drama stars Radha Mitchell as Martha, the daughter of a Russian mobster who gets pulled back into criminal enterprises when her husband is killed, possibly by the rival mobster played by ER's Goran Visnjic.
Martha isn't a sociopath like Dexter, says Rosenberg, but she is just as complex and, in her own way, flawed -- the kind of character you see more often on cable than broadcast TV. "This show is bringing that kind of a character to network … It's a very tricky character to sell to an audience because women are held to a different standard."
As a film actor, Mitchell says she found the pace of TV a little daunting, but the character made the pace worthwhile. "She's a woman who is a housewife who has been avoiding her criminal upbringing … and is suddenly drawn into a world she's been trying to avoid her entire life."
Playing a mobster who may or may not be as bad as he seems is obviously a big TV change for Visnjic, who became a TV star playing a kind, dedicated doctor. But it's not the only change for the Eastern European immigrant: "I'm becoming a citizen. That's a nice thing."
Most TV shows would ask us to follow this mob mystery for 22 episodes, but Red Widow is an exception. The show has only an eight-episode order, and is designed to wrap up its first story in that time period. Which is just fine with Rosenberg.
"This is not something that lends itself to 22 episodes…When we got midseason, eight episodes, that's exactly what I wanted, because I had as much time to write and develop this show as I did on Dexter…I'm more proud of this show than anything else I've done in my career, and so much of that has to do with ABC giving me the time, with other talented people, to craft this series."
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