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‘Notorious’ Co-Creators Josh Berman, Allie Hagan Discuss Story Structure, Twists and Show Origins

Photo Credit: © Imeh Bryant for the Paley Center
Photo Credit: © Imeh Bryant for the Paley Center

TV Source Magazine had the opportunity to attend the 10th anniversary of the PaleyFest Fall TV Preview for the new ABC series Notorious last week. We spoke with series creators Josh Berman (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) and Allie Hagen about the series’ origins and how they intend to handle the stories throughout the season.

Notorious is the brain child of famed defense attorney Mark Geragos, and longtime news producer Wendy Walker, created by the amazing Josh Berman. Starring Piper Perabo (Covert Affairs) and Daniel Sunjata (Rescue Me, Graceland), the show focuses on the relationship between media and law, giving the viewers a glimpse into the stories behind the stories.

The series premiered Thursday, September 22.

TV Source Magazine: We are super excited about Notorious, how would you describe the series to people who may not be familiar with it?
Josh Berman: It’s the intersection of law and media, it’s sexy, fun, a thrill ride. The kind of show you like a traditional ABC drama, I think you are going to love Notorious.

TV Source Magazine: The pilot ends with the twist of Sarah being murdered, can we expect a scandal each week as well as the overarching story?
Josh Berman: There is a notorious incident every week, and that becomes the beginning, middle and end, but there’s also a through line, for example the mystery of who killed Sarah that will go on for several episodes, and those tend to be the more personal storylines. We also have the big sensational behind the scenes story week to week that changes.

The episodic storyline so to speak where you actually get to go behind the case, almost if you watch the O.J. miniseries (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) where they went behind the O.J. case to the story behind the story, that is what we are doing on a weekly basis in addition to the long game in this case the murder of Sarah Kenton. That will actually wrap up in several episodes, and then we will introduce a new mystery as well.

This is a show that constantly twist and turns. I have ADD as viewer and I want to make sure the viewers are constantly entertained and also rewarded for watching. I can’t watch another TV show where the murder is solved over the entire season, that just drives me crazy, I like the fast pace energy. I also believe like the new cycle, it’s 15 minutes today, every 15 minutes it’s being recycled. This show has to cycle through stories the same way.

TV Source Magazine: What was the concept of the show?
Josh Berman: It’s inspired by Mark Geragos [the Defense Attorney] and Wendy Walker, who executive produced Larry King for 20 years. In real life they are best friends, they have that symbiotic relationship just like Jake and Julia/Piper and Daniel in the pilot. What inspires me are their stories and their friendship. Their stories are incredible from Scott Peterson to Michael Jackson to O.J. Simpson. They have stores behind the story for every major figure, every major scandal, every notorious crime over the past decade. It allows us to come up with episodes you won’t see anywhere else on TV because we have the inside scoop.

TV Source Magazine: Is there a pop culture story that you would really want to sink your teeth into?
Allie Hagan: There are so many, we haven’t broken this yet but whatever. I love the rumor Katy Perry is a grown-up JonBenet Ramsey. There’s this bizarre conspiracy theory that went around a while ago. We haven’t figured out a way how to do the story yet but I really want to.

TV Source Magazine has more Notorious scoop for you over the coming days from stars Ryan Guzman, Kevin Zegers, Sepideh Moafi and executive producers Mark Geragos and Wendy Walker!

About the author

Walker Ragsdale

Walker Ragsdale is a freelance writer and publicist specializing in enertainment and branding.