the cartel tv series

Don Winslow‘s acclaimed Cartel Trilogy is headed to the small screen. FX has picked up the rights to adapt the series, based on Winslow’s bestselling trilogy of novels following DEA agent Art Keller through 45 years of America’s long-running war on drugs.

Deadline reports that FX has landed the rights to Winslow’s Cartel Trilogy, which includes the 2005 novel The Power of the Dog, the 2015 follow-up The Cartel, and the recently published conclusion, The Border.

Winslow will serve as an executive producer for the series alongside Shane Salerno (Savages, Avatar 3), who is set to co-write the pilot with an unnamed writer/showrunner. While Winslow and Salerno aren’t working in official showrunner capacity, they will reportedly be “closely involved in shaping and sustaining the series.”

The as-yet-untitled FX series will adapt Winslow’s Cartel Trilogy, which follows DEA Agent Art Keller through a 45-year period during America’s long-running war on drugs. Per Deadline:

“The through line is a blood feud between the DEA agent and Mexican drug kingpin Adan Berrera. Much like the actual drug war, the books are often shocking in brutality and raw in humanity, portraying Mexican cartel power struggles, narcos and cops on both sides of the border, traffickers and drug mules, lawyers, journalists, junkies, teen hit men, asylum-seeking children and political corruption from Mexico poppy fields to the White House.”

Ridley Scott is also set to serve as an executive producer for the series, a holdover from when the first two books were originally sold to Fox to be adapted as a feature film with Scott as director. However, Deadline writes that there was “too much story” to fit into a two-hour film, and with the oncoming Fox-Disney merger, FX stepped in to adapt the story into a series.

The deal was finalized by John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions, who said in a statement:

“I have known and respected Shane Salerno and Don Winslow for almost 20 years, and am beyond thrilled to be working with them again on the series adaptation of Don’s magnum opus – the trilogy made up of his three critically beloved and commercially successful novels. Don has masterfully woven his intricately detailed research into cartel’s and America’s war on drugs into what is widely regarded as one of the great crime epics of all time. Nothing excites the team at FX more than the daunting challenge of helping great creators make a television show as ambitious and good as the epically acclaimed books on which it will be based.”

Salerno and Winslow added, “We have long admired the excellence that John Landgraf and his creative team have built and sustained across many years at FX, which makes them the perfect creative partner for us. These books represent over twenty years of our lives and we care deeply about how they are adapted. We are excited to work with John and his team on what we hope will become the definitive television series on this subject matter.”

FX has an excellent track record when it comes to grimy crime series, with dramas like The People vs. O.J. Simpson, Sons of Anarchy, Justified, Fargo, Feud and The Assassination of Gianni Versace earning acclaim and awards recognition. Based on the premise, the Cartel Trilogy seems primed to be another FX success.

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