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Fox to Develop Cop Drama From ‘Mudbound’ Writer-Producer Virgil Williams

Fox is developing a one-hour police procedural that hails from Virgil Williams, the co-writer and executive producer of “Mudbound.”

Titled “Hard Knocks,” the series would follow a brilliant, male ex-con turned university criminology professor and a tenacious female detective who team up to tackle crime by combining unique insight into the criminal mind and superior investigative skills. Fox has ordered a script for the project with a penalty attached.

Universal Television will produce. Williams will serve as the writer and executive producer on the project, which falls under his overall deal at Universal Television. Debra Martin Chase will executive producer under her Martin Chase Productions banner, which is set up under a first-look deal at Universal TV.

Williams is currently preparing for the release of “Mudbound,” which is his first feature film. Co-written by Williams and director Dee Rees, the film stars Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund and Mary J. Blige, among others, and will be released by Netflix on November 17.

On the TV side, Williams has served as writer and producer on shows like “ER,” “The Chicago Code,” and “24.” Most recently, Williams wrote and executive produced six seasons of the long-running CBS show “Criminal Minds.” Earlier this year, he signed a two-year overall deal with Universal Television to develop new series for broadcast, cable and streaming services.

Martin Chase Productions, along with Courtney Kemp and Vin Diesel’s One Race Television, most recently sold a reboot of “Get Christie Love” through Universal Television and Lionsgate Television to ABC with a pilot production commitment.

Williams is represented by CAA, Craig Brody from The Shuman Company, and attorneys Eric Sherman and P.J. Shapiro. Martin Chase Productions is represented by CAA and attorneys Nina Shaw and Laurie Megery.

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