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Merrin Dungey Joins Hayley Atwell’s ABC Pilot ‘Conviction’

“Alias” alum Merrin Dungey has joined the cast of ABC drama pilot “Conviction,” Variety has learned.

The pilot centers around a young attorney (Hayley Atwell), the brilliant but ne’er-do-well daughter of a former U.S. president, who is blackmailed into taking a job as the head of Los Angeles’ newly created Conviction Integrity Unit. She, along with her team of lawyers, investigators and forensic experts, work together to examine cases where there’s credible suspicion that the wrong person may have been convicted of a crime.

Dungey will play Maxine, the lead investigator for the Conviction Integrity Unit. Maxine is a former NYPD detective from a cop family who is described as being tough and no-nonsense. She’ll find her previously unfailing loyalty to the badge tested as she delves into her former colleagues’ cases.

Dungey will next be seen in HBO’s limited series “Big Little Lies,” starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, and has recently appeared on ABC drama “Once Upon a Time” and Fox comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” She’s the sister of newly promoted ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey, who replaced outgoing ABC topper Paul Lee earlier this month.

In addition to Atwell and Dungey, previously announced cast members include Shawn Ashmore, Emily Kinney and Manny Montana.

Mark Gordon and Nick Pepper will exec produce the pilot with co-creators Liz Friedman and Liz Friedlander. Friedman wrote the pilot and Friedlander will direct. The show hails from the Mark Gordon Company and ABC Studios, with Entertainment One handling international rights. The Mark Gordon Company also serves as lead studio on another ABC project for next season, Kiefer Sutherland’s “Designated Survivor,” which received a straight-to-series order at the network.

Dungey is represented by Jennifer Craig at the Gersh Agency, Dan Spilo of Industry Entertainment and attorney Marcy Morris of Jackoway, Tyerman, Wertheimer, Austen, Mandelbaum, Morris & Klein.

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