‘The Operative’: Craig T. Nelson Plans Return to TV as an International Spy

The "Parenthood" star and son Noah Nelson are teaming up for a drama set during the height of the Cold War.
Craig T. Nelson
Craig T. Nelson
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Landmark Studio Group has announced that it is developing “The Operative,” an international spy drama series that will star Craig T. Nelson.

Per Landmark, Nelson will play a retired intelligence operative named John Straw, who was mysteriously forced to end his career following The Cold War but re-emerges to warn of an upcoming attack on American soil. A young analyst named Emma, sent by the CIA to interview him about his claims, uncovers that John is full of stories, some pointing to a decades-old conspiracy with ties to the Kremlin. In her search for the truth, Emma and John soon become allies as they work together to try to stop a skilled, cunning, and formidable enemy before it’s too late.

“The Operative” is loosely based on the book “Code Name Stinger” by Harvey Gomberg, who will serve as a series consultant, and action will be centered around the pivotal events of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, during the height of the Cold War. Noah Nelson (“Raising Dion,” “The District”) will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Anne Clements (“The Oath”) Landmark CEO David Ozer, and Landmark vice president of development and production Tim Rouhana will executive produce. Gary Hellerstein will serve as supervising producer.

“’The Operative’ demonstrates the caliber of quality content we have focused on creating since forming Landmark last year, and we are extremely proud to be a part of this production,” Rouhana said in a statement. “We are aiming high to create a franchise series that tops the binge-worthy lists, and with the incomparable talents of Noah and Craig on board to bring this series to life, we are confident we will achieve it.”

Nelson grew to fame in films like “The Poltergeist,” “Silkwood,” and “The Killing Fields” before becoming a household name in the early ’90s ABC sitcom, “Coach,” which was nearly revived by NBC in 2015 before development complications scuttled the sequel series. He also led the NBC ensemble drama “Parenthood” and has recently appeared in “Grace and Frankie” and “Young Sheldon,” in addition to voicing Mr. Incredible in Pixar’s “The Incredibles” and “The Incredibles 2.”

Further casting details and a potential release date are still under wraps. Landmark said that the project will be distributed by Screen Media to third party platforms or through Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s Crackle Plus AVOD platforms, though it is unclear which platform the series may end up on.

Landmark’s recent projects the Nicolas Cage-led “Willy’s Wonderland,” the action film series “Trigger Point,” and the television series “SafeHaven.” The company is also working on dramedy series “Flagrant,” which stars Michael Rapaport and is expected to be produced in the fall.

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