Melissa Leo to Lead Fox Drama Pilot ‘Blood Relative’

Academy Award winner Melissa Leo has been cast in the lead role of Fox’s drama pilot “Blood Relative.”

The series is based on James Renner’s article “Beyond the Jungle of Bad: The True Story of Two Women from California Who Are Solving All the Mysteries.” Leo will star as Louise Kelly, an expert in genetic genealogy.

The character is described as difficult, with an IQ of 190. She wrote the book on genetic genealogy and can trace anyone if she has a viable tissue sample to play with. But she has a habit of burning bridges as she goes. Sarcastic, sardonic, irritable and confrontational, she’s the smartest person in the room with no time to explain her methods to average folks, except her little brother John. It’s through working with her brother to solve the toughest cases that secrets from their past will start to bubble to the surface, threatening their relationship and their father’s legacy as a respected Lieutenant, community leader and all around good guy.

Known primarily for her film work, the role brings Leo back to Fox, as she previously appeared in the Fox drama series “Wayward Pines.” Her other TV starring roles include shows like “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “I’m Dying Up Here,” “Treme,” and “Mildred Pierce.” She will also star in the upcoming HBO miniseries “I Know This Much Is True” opposite Mark Ruffalo. Leo won the Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role in “The Fighter” and was previously nominated for best actress for the film “Frozen River.” She has been nominated for three Emmy Awards during her career, winning one in 2010 for best guest actress in a comedy series for “Louie.”

She is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.

“Blood Relative” will be written and executive produced by Chris Levinson and James Renner. Phillip Noyce will direct the pilot and executive produce. Liza Chasin of 3 Dot Productions will also executove produce. The project is a co-production between Paramount Television Studios, Anonymous Content and Fox Entertainment.

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