NYCC 19: “Lincoln” Rhyme and The Bone Collector

Once upon a time, way back in 1999, Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie starred in a movie called “The Bone Collector.”  The film was based on the first novel in the Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffrey Deaver and at the time the film came out, the book series was just getting going as the second novel had been released in 1998.  Now, in 2019, there are 15 novels in the series and NBC is bringing Lincoln Rhyme to television.  No, not with Washington and Jolie, but rather with Russell Hornsby as Rhyme and Arielle Kebbel as Amelia Sachs (Jolie played Amelia Donaghy, but Sachs is the name of the character in the book).

Hornsby and Kebbel were both in New York this weekend for the “Lincoln” panel at New York Comic-Con, and they were joined on the dais by fellow star Michael Imperioli as well as executive producers Mark Bianculli and Peter Traugott.  The panel was moderated by Jim Halterman of TV Guide Magazine.

The first half or so of the panel time was taken up by a screening of a chunk of the pilot episode and it was certainly interesting enough to make me want to see the rest.  That isn’t to say that there weren’t some moments of awkward dialogue and plotting, but there was enough there in this tale of Lincoln Rhyme vs. The Bone Collector to make me want to know where it goes.

One of the elements made clear at the outset of the discussion portion of the panel was that this Bone Collector story is going to take up season one, wrapping up when the season wraps.  There will be some single episode stories along the way, but the overarching tale runs throughout.

As for the show’s antecedents, Hornsby noted that he has “big shoes to fill” taking on the Denzel Washington role, but watching the pilot he definitely offered up the necessary gravitas, humor, and anger.  It was also made clear that the series is going to be creating something original, inspired by Deaver’s works, yes, but something new.  Their hope, Hornsby said is to “raise the bar of procedural network television.”

This is a show, the panelists said more than once, that offers up the theme “the broken take better care of the broken.”  It even was said in the portion of the pilot that we saw.  Without a doubt, we saw some of Lincoln and Amelia’s troubles, but there are assuredly more on the way.

For those wondering, there were actually a lot of different thoughts offered on how to view the series and/or characters.

Imperioli relegated it to music.  He said that Lincoln was like Mozart; his character, Detective Mike Sellitto, was like Bruce Springsteen; and Kebbel’s closer to Billie Holiday.

Another take:  Lincoln is easily associated with Sherlock Holmes (we got the reference right there in the pilot).  Then, for her part, Amelia is like a Clarice Starling, but one pre-FBI training.  But, we were also told that there are no superheroes here on this show, that they are all flawed.

Bianculli said that the relationship between Lincoln and The Bone Collector is kind of like that of Hamilton and Burr, if Hamilton had no idea why Burr hated him.  Separately, it was stated that the show and it’s filming in New York City is “National Treasure” meets a Ken Burns documentary.

That is a lot of things to which we could associate the series, or prisms through which to view it, but from what we saw on screen, it was largely a network procedural.  Maybe one that works better than most, but still a network procedural.

The core cast, it was noted as an answer to an audience question, are all good guys.  We are going to get surprises along the way, but we shouldn’t expect some sort of twist there with our core cast.  Additionally, the flashbacks that exist in the pilot aren’t just a way of setting the mood for the show, they are an integral part of the storytelling and will continue throughout.

What the panelists didn’t tell us, what I assume they don’t know, is when in January “Lincoln” is going to premiere.  More importantly, they also didn’t explain why they would have gone with just the name “Lincoln” for the show.  It is not particularly descriptive and the exact title of the recent Spielberg/Daniel Day-Lewis movie.

“Lincoln” or whatever they might end up calling it (perhaps “Cougar Town”?), premieres this January.

photo credit: NBC

Categories: New York Comic Con

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