When a world-class thief hooks up with a hitman, the result is a dangerous dance in TNT’s Good Behavior.
As developer and executive producer of Wayward Pines, Chad Hodge was so in sync with Blake Crouch, who wrote the sci-fi trilogy about a mysterious Idaho town on which the Fox hit series was based, that it was like a melding of the minds.
So it’s no surprise that the two have teamed up again, only this time they’re partners in crime.
With TNT’s Good Behavior, premiering November 15, Hodge and Crouch have adapted another of Crouch’s works, a novella series about Letty Dobesh, a gorgeous, degenerate thief fresh out of the clink and back to her old tricks.
“I had such a good experience with Blake on Wayward Pines that I started reading his other books, looking for a new project,” Hodge says. “Things hit me right away or not at all, and Letty’s so dynamic she jumps off the page. I immediately fell in love.”
Crouch feels the same way about Letty, played by Michelle Dockery of Downton Abbey fame. “She’s a world-class burglar, drug addict and alcoholic,” he says, “but she’s incredibly honest about who she is and is trying to become a better person. Usually I have to work hard to tease out a character, but Letty arrived fully formed, like Athena springing out of Zeus’s head.”
Even so, Letty’s story needed to be fleshed out.
“When you’re adapting a book, authors usually don’t want things changed,” says Hodge, who serves as showrunner (the executive producers are Hodge, Crouch, Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements).
“But Blake understands that television is different from novels. I talked with him constantly when I was writing the Wayward Pines pilot. So when I wasn’t sure exactly where to go with Letty and how to arc out the story, I figured we should write it together.”
The show — whose 10 episodes were shot in Wilmington, North Carolina — explores Letty’s missteps that led her to the wrong side of the law.
“The novellas are almost just sketches of Letty, but in the show we explain how she got into drinking and drugs, landed in prison and lost custody of her son,” Crouch says. “We go to her hometown and meet her family.”
But the plot really thickens when she unwittingly crosses paths with Javier, a hunky hitman (Juan Diego Botto).
“Aside from being a killer, he’s a pretty good guy, and they get into a dangerous dance,” Hodge says. “It’s an untraditional, screwed-up love story — and another great example where I suggested a massive change that Blake was totally game for.” The duo couldn’t be happier having Dockery on board.
“It’s like hitting the lottery,” Crouch says. “She doesn’t play just what we’ve written, but has helped us understand the tone of the show. It’s not your typical journey into the heart of addiction and how she pulls herself out. It’s funny when you expect dark, and it’s much lighter on its feet than you’d expect.”
From her Southern accent to her blonde wigs and jaw-dropping outfits, Hodge adds, “people are going to be wowed by Michelle’s performance. It’s very different from Lady Mary.”
In the meantime, the guys continue to be thick as thieves. “I talk to Blake, who lives in Colorado, five or six times a day,” Hodge says. And there may well be another collaboration down the line. Adds Crouch: “I’m sure Chad and I will continue getting into trouble together.”
This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 10, 2016