The Watchman: ‘100 Code’ Tracks Multinational Murderer, ‘Animal Kingdom’ Gets Bolder and Bigger

WGN America’s crime drama 100 Code starts May 29, and tells the story of a serial killer who left his mark in New York and Stockholm, and the police — Dominic Monaghan’s Tommy Conley character in New York and Michael Nyqvist’s Mikael Eklund in Stockholm — trying to track him down.

It comes from producer Bobby Moresco, who said the genesis came from the book Merrick — by Irish author Ken Bruen — being sent to him, to see if he could make a film out of it. Moresco, whose film credits include Crash and Million Dollar Baby, did not see a movie. But he was intrigued by the book’s main character, and worked out a deal to set him in a series. That puts Conley, a no-nonsense NYPD detective, at the center of 100 Code.

Cast and crew were shocked when Nyqvist died of lung cancer last June. “Heartbreaking,” is how Moresco described it. “He was strong as an ox. And I want to tell you, he was the nicest man in the world — a gentleman, a family man.”

The 100 Code master plan only had Nyqvist in the first season, with Conley heading back to New York in search of the killer.

What makes 100 Code stand out amidst this packed landscape of really good TV? “Everything’s been done,” Moresco acknowledged. “What makes any show different is what the writers and actors bring to it.”

He said the series delves into anonymity, and how the internet “allows anyone to say anything” with impunity. The web plays a key role in 100 Code’s murders. “Technology scares the hell out of me,” Moresco said.

WGN America has been a great partner, he added. “Any time a network loves your show, you love them.”

Also on May 29, it’s season three of Animal Kingdom on TNT (pictured). Ellen Barkin’s Smurf is in jail and J, played by Finn Cole, is in charge. “The boys really start to test J’s mettle, to see if he’s got what it takes to not only be in charge, but to be a Cody,” said David Rodriguez, co-executive producer and director.

Denis Leary has joined the cast, playing Billy, a “man-of-the-world junkie,” said Rodriguez, that Smurf kicked out years ago, but remains connected to the family because he is Deran Cody’s dad.

He and Barkin face off when Smurf gets out of jail. “It’s fun to watch these two veterans grace the screen, and size each other up,” Rodriguez said.

He promised big things for the new season. The family “gets bolder and the crimes get bigger,” Rodriguez said. “We do some really, really crazy s--t this season.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.