ABC has renewed its hit Montana-set crime drama Big Sky for a second season, as reported by Deadline. Big Sky is based on a series of mystery novels by C.J. Box (Blue Heaven) centered around private investigator Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury, When They See Us). In a November 2020 interview, Box disclosed that creator David E. Kelley (The Lincoln Lawyer) purchased the adaptation rights to every book in the Cassie Dewell series, four of which are currently in print: “There will be elements from two of them in the initial season of Big Sky. Where it goes from there I don’t yet know,” via Crime Reads. Series regular Jesse James Keitel (Miller & Son) celebrated the news of the renewal in a post on their Instagram:
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While Kelley plans to continue his work as an executive producer on the series, he is ceding his position as showrunner to season one scriptwriter Elwood Reid (The Chi), Deadline reports. Reid, like Box, is a published author who knows his way around a suspenseful story. His third novel D.B. was inspired by a real-life yet-unsolved plane hijacking case from the early 1970s and was partially structured around an FBI manhunt for the hijacker, according to Kirkus Reviews. Midnight Sun, the novel that preceded D.B., was set in Fairbanks, Alaska. Like both D.B. and Big Sky, the book’s premise relies on the pursuit of a missing person, in this case a dying man’s young daughter, who is suspected to be in the clutches of a forest-dwelling cult, via Publishers Weekly.
When it comes to the small screen, crime fiction remains Reid’s bread and butter. He has writing credits on CBS’s Hawaii Five-0 reboot and Cold Case, and is credited as the co-creator of the American re-interpretation of The Bridge for FX alongside former Cold Case boss Meredith Stiehm (Homeland).
Reid also developed a scripted series for National Geographic titled Barkskins about the early English and French colonists of what is now known as Canada. Reid worked with a cadre of cultural advisors from the indigenous community on Barkskins to lend authenticity to the drama’s portrayal of its native characters, as reported by Color Lines. Big Sky, meanwhile, allegedly hired its own cultural advisor, Squamish actress Stefany Mathias (Knights of Bloodsteel), after facing immense pressure from indigenous advocacy groups, AP News reports. These organizations allegedly object to the way the show ignores how Montana’s human trafficking epidemic has disproportionately hurt native communities to tell Box’s story about investigators prying into the disappearance of two white teenage girls, Danielle (Natalie Alyn Lind, Tell Me a Story) and Grace (Jade Pettyjohn, Little Fires Everywhere), via AP News.
Big Sky season one will end with its sixteenth episode. Episode fifteen, “Bitter Roots,” airs on ABC on May 11 at 10 P.M. Eastern. It shares a title with Box’s fourth Cassie Dewell novel. The number of episodes in season two has yet to be revealed, according to Deadline.