Hollywood powerhouse Steve McQueen and slightly less well known screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan have teamed up to create a new limited series on HBO. Codes of Conduct, starring newcomer Devon Terrell, is the story of a young African-American man making a splash in New York high society after coming into his fortune from humble, and somewhat mysterious beginnings. Given McQueen’s penchant for dark subject matter and gritty dialogue, we can expect this show to be anything but a light rags-to-riches story.
Beverly Snow, played by Terrell, is a newly wealthy man who made his fortune in the technology sector. With the money comes a new social stratus which he feels compelled to join in full – no easy task given the closed ranks of the upper crust. His genius with computer software is paralleled by his ability to adapt to new social settings, which take him ever higher in the halls of society. There he meets beautiful people who may or may not be all they seem as he tries to get his bearings. Some will help, some will hinder, but all will be interested in the boundaries pushed by Snow’s emergence onto the scene.
The project was started in 2013 when the creators set out to find the right man to play the lead. After securing Mr. Terrell, other actors who will have recurring roles in the series were announced in 2014 including Helena Bonham Carter, Rebecca Hall, and Pall Dano as members of Manhattan’s elite. Receiving the go ahead from HBO in March of 2015, it was thought a fast-track from the studio would see the show begin airing that year, but it was not to be. It is now anticipated the six episodes will air some time in 2016, but no tentative schedule has yet been announced. As they have done for a while now, it can be expected HBO will not only air the episodes on their network, but simultaneously have them available for streaming through their website. It is unknown if they will make the show available through other streaming services as well.
#CC represents a new format for Steve McQueen, who is well respected for his multiple roles in creating feature films. Known for shooting his dialogue scenes in one take and often using a single camera to capture an entire film, it will be intriguing to see how he adapts to serial production which can have very different challenges. He may already be experiencing some, given the delay in production. It is also understood he will soon be producing a television series for the BBC, as well. Given the sometimes lavish budgets available through HBO studios, we can expect #CodesConduct to deliver on exactly what Mr. McQueen, his co-creator, and their executive producers want to portray.
While this show has been commissioned as a limited series, it is entirely likely to be a huge success. The star power alone will likely draw quite a viewership. Given the importance of ratings, it is possible HBO may want to commission more in the series, which leaves open some interesting questions. Getting McQueen back may not be possible, given his commitments to the BBC and presumed desire to continue working on full-length films. This might open up the possibility for other well-known directors to bring life to other “fish out of water” stories. Perhaps following someone on the opposite social journey from elite society to working class stiff, or an assimilation story as someone comes to the US from a country with completely different mores. There are many possibilities, but it may also be a continuation of the adventures of Beverley Snow.February 24, 2016