What do you get when you mix the very British comedy of the co-creator of “The Office” with the hard-nosed, dark dramatic chops of the co-creator of “Mayans MC?” Well, according to a new report from Deadline, you get “The Offenders,” a new series coming from Amazon and BBC.
According to Deadline, Stephen Merchant, the aforementioned ‘Office’ co-creator and one of the funniest men on the planet, is teaming up with Elgin James, of “Mayans MC” fame, to develop a new series titled “The Offenders,” which aims to mix the sensibilities of both creators into something great.
“The Offenders” tells the story of seven strangers forced to work together doing community service in Bristol. As they get to know each other, it’s clear that the archetypes that you’d immediately pigeon-hole them in aren’t accurate. And over the course of the six-episode run, the group will have to come together to protect each other from a criminal gang. So, you see, the emotions, humor, and personal interactions that Merchant is so good at combined with the crime thriller tendencies that James has worked on during his run on the “Sons of Anarchy” spin-off series.
In addition to co-creating the series, Merchant will also co-star and direct.
“‘The Offenders’ is a long-standing passion project for me,” said Merchant. “My parents used to work in the Community Service world and I was always intrigued that the many and varied people they dealt with only had one thing in common: they’d committed a crime. Ever since ‘The Office,’ I love finding ways to bring unlikely groups of people together and watch the sparks fly.”
He continued, “As a writer, I always include humor but with ‘The Offenders,’ I also get to add drama, pathos, crime genre thrills and say something optimistic about the common humanity that unites us all, whatever our background. ‘The Offenders’ mix of light and shade, dark and comic, middle-class angst with inner-city grit, reflects the unlikely partnership of me and Elgin. I grew up in suburbia whereas Elgin spent his early life building a national street gang until a police investigation landed him in prison. Despite coming from different sides of the tracks, Elgin and I share a love of convincing characters and authentic, engaging, human stories.”
While, on paper, the combination of Merchant and James doesn’t seem like peanut butter and jelly, it would appear that with “The Offenders,” the duo are able to use their strong suits, humor and crime drama, respectively, in a way that could actually work. So, at least right now, it doesn’t seem as if Merchant is making another ‘Office’ with his latest series, but actually something perhaps more interesting.
There’s no release date planned for “The Offenders,” but we’ll definitely keep our eye out for this series as it gets closer.