EXCLUSIVE: Brian Tee (Chicago Med, Expats) is set to produce the anthology limited series The Scapegoat. The project is currently being shopped around to streamers and premium cablers.
Season 1, titled Tokyo Rose, will adapt the Mike Weedall historical novel, Iva, The True Story of Tokyo Rose. It will tell the story of Iva Toguri, who was wrongfully convicted of treason and sent to prison for being the infamous radio propagandist “Tokyo Rose” during World War II.
Tee, whose grandparents were imprisoned in an Internment Camp during the war, believes that Tokyo Rose is “just the first of the many universal stories that can be told in future seasons of The Scapegoat, including contemporary tales, featuring people who endured the hateful sides of this country and survived, emerging as hopeful symbols of our American ideals.” Tee also notes that the box office success of Oppenheimer over the summer demonstrates the “audience’s appetite for stories that test the complicated moral fabric of our history.”
Barry Schkolnick (Law & Order, The Good Wife) will write the series alongside playwright Tracy Held, vice-chair of the WGA’s Asian American Writers Committee. Schkolnick will also serve as showrunner.
The project is being created with the support of the civil rights organization The Japanese Americans Citizens League. The JACL is a long-standing national organization dedicated to securing and safeguarding the civil and human rights of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans.
“With hate crimes against Asian Americans continuing to be daily occurrences in the United States since the Covid outbreak, the time is right to contemplate the legacy of our country during the Second World War and the way that Japanese Americans were victimized despite being loyal citizens of the place they called home. Iva’s story is a cautionary tale of the injustices that can take place when a nation and its powerful institutions are blinded by the flames of prejudice,” the JACL tells Deadline in an exclusive statement.
“With a voracious media, eager to peddle messages of fear, Iva battled the darkest sides of America against a nation in need of a scapegoat to blame for the horrors of the war, racial discrimination and the internment of all Americans of Japanese descent. Themes of the dark undersides of today’s America,” they added.
Tee is coming off 8 seasons on NBC’s Chicago Med and is gearing up to premiere in Lulu Wang’s limited series for Prime Video Expats in 2024. Expats, set against the fabric of Hong Kong, tells the story of an international community whose lives are bound together forever after a sudden family tragedy.
Tee’s departure from the hit Dick Wolf procedural was so he could spend more time with family and pursue other opportunities expanding on his experience as an actor, a budding director, and a producer. His first project out the gate is The Scapegoat with others also on his radar.
Tee is represented by A3 Artists Agency and Behr, Abramson, et al. Schkolnick is represented by Culture Creative, Mazo Partners and Jackoway Austen.