Can ABC interest you in an indulgent David E. Kelley thriller in these trying times? The network has released an extended teaser trailer for the Big Little Lies creator’s new drama, Big Sky, premiering Nov. 17. The series, which stars Katheryn Winnick, Kylie Bunbury, and Ryan Phillippe, could be just the soapy mystery to lose ourselves in this fall.
Big Sky, based on the series of books by C.J. Box, follows an investigation into the abduction of two teenage sisters (Natalie Alyn Lind and Jade Pettyjohn) on a remote highway in Montana. Private detectives Cassie Dewell (Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Phillippe) team up with ex-cop Jenny Hoyt (Winnick) — who is also Cody’s estranged wife — to search for the sisters. When they discover that these aren’t the only girls who have disappeared in the area, the trio have to race to stop the killer before another woman is taken. But from the looks of the trailer, it won’t always be a smooth partnership.
“There is a triangle, absolutely,” Phillippe teased, speaking to the press on a virtual panel on Wednesday. “That’s where we find these characters in the beginning. They’re sort of dealing with or figuring out what the dynamics of that triangle are, or what they will be. It’s exciting.”
Kelley said Big Sky will break out of the typical broadcast storytelling structure. “When we set forth with ABC, they were really frisky to break their own mold and to present storytelling to the audience that would be more in line with cable or streaming,” said Kelley. “I think this show lends itself to be a great bingeing show.”
Star Katheryn Winnick teased, “There’s so many unexpected turns and twists, and these characters are so rich and dynamic.”
For Winnick, it was the prospect of working with Kelley that lured her back to television so soon after wrapping up her role on History‘s Vikings. “I wasn’t really looking to sign on for another series at this point,” she said, “but when you see David E. Kelley‘s name on this and you read the script, how can you say no?”
She also highlighted the drama’s female-driven story, calling her co-star Kylie Bunbury “an amazing talent.”
“This show is really based on two strong female leads,” Winnick said. “It’s rare to find two women characters that follow through different cases as the series progresses.”
Like Winnick, Bunbury said she hadn’t been looking to do network television before Big Sky came along. Reflecting on Fox’s beloved one-season drama Pitch, which she starred in, Bunbury said, “Pitch for me was a very magical and rare experience. I definitely think that it has informed my choices moving forward. I don’t think that i’ll ever really get to experience something like that; it was so niche and different.”
With Big Sky, however, Bunbury saw an opportunity to tell a story about navigating the predominantly white landscape of small-town America. “I’m experiencing such an amazing opportunity being Cassie on this show and exploring the dynamics of being a biracial woman in a relatively white town,” she said.
Winnick and Bunbury also noted that six out of 10 of the season’s directors are female and two are people of color.
Cast member Jesse James Keitel plays a trans character named Jerrie, who is not in the books. Keitel praised the writing for their character as well. “I think the fact that my character’s been incorporated into this story too … is not only groundbreaking and revolutionary for an ABC crime drama, but it’s also done with such heart and nuance, and I think what is exciting is this is a trans character with a rich depth and history,” they said.
As for the mystery itself, Kelley would only offer teases. “At the end of each episode I think the audience should be leaning in and say, ‘What’s gonna happen next?'” Kelley said.
John Carroll Lynch, Brian Geraghty, Dedee Pfeiffer, and Valerie Mahaffey also star.
Big Sky premieres Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 10/9c on ABC.