I constantly get ideas for heroes, villains, teams, and general story ideas. (You, too?) Most of the time, they are geared to the comics medium, but sometimes I’ll come up with something that might work as well or better as an ongoing TV series, mini-series, or series of movies. “Old Dogs” is one of those ideas.
The concept isn’t entirely original. (But, then, what is, these days?) It was inspired by an episode of the current “Hawaii Five-O” series, but it also has elements of RED (which began as a comic book) and “Mission: Impossible” (which, of course, began as a TV series). The episode in question had Steve McGarrett reluctantly joining his 60-ish mother on a “mission” to retrieve stolen microfilm from the offices of a corrupt businessman. This isn’t quite as odd as it sounds, since his mother — played by the very fit and attractive Christine Lahti — is a retired CIA operative, who had already planned the mission with two friends — a retired police detective (played by Treat Williams) and a Naval Commanding Officer (played by David Keith), also in their late-50s.
It got me thinking about how fun it might be to have a regular series about retirees who constantly find themselves drawn into such missions, adventures, maybe the occasionally hilarious caper. I picture it as generally serious but with some humorous elements — closer to “Hawaii Five-O” or “NCIS” than to “Chuck”. I fleshed it out a bit now & then over the weeks that followed and came up with the following premise:
Four retired intelligence operatives -– 3 males + 1 female, all in their 50s and 60s, but fairly physically fit -– begin taking on “cases” (usually as a team), after finding retirement dull. They learn about these cases either by active research of their own or from something they see/read in the news or when one of them has a friend or relative that needs help. These cases can be anything from helping someone escape a violent spouse to taking down mobsters to uncovering corporate and/or political fraud (and worse). Beyond all being trained to be quite proficient in armed and unarmed combat, medical first aid, investigative/espionage skills, acting, etc., they each have unique talents, as well.
The principles are:
Mitchell Caine-Pendleton (early 60s): British ex-pat, former colonel & MI-6 agent, specializing in tactics, several forms of martial arts, and profiling (i.e., behavioral psychology). Student of world history, especially military and politics.
Warren X. Paige (early 50s): African-American, former CIA analyst w/ military training, specializing in computers/electronics (and the only one of them truly comfortable with all the latest technology), linguistics (inc. several languages & dialects), and anything & everything to do with sports. Has two doctorates (Information Science and Indo-European Linguistics); could have had more but didn’t want to take time off from the Agency. Best sense of humor of the four.
Patricia “Trish” Vandeven (early- to mid-50s): blonde & blue-eyed, slender beauty of German and/or Scandinavian descent, mistress-of-disguise and gymnast (former Olympic contender); plus, she’s a math genius and financial whiz. Can portray anything from American soccer mom to European nobility.
Guillermo Ricardo Antonio de la Montoya (mid- to late-50s): suave & sophisticated (w/ the expensive tastes to go with it) former Cuban double-agent, specializing in “costumery”, bladed weapons, and acquiring/driving/piloting vehicles of any kind.
That’s all. A lot of room for further development, obviously, but it might be enough for a story pitch to some TV exec.
If you have read many of my other posts, you know I must have some casting ideas for my main players, right? I’ll forego the usual career highlights and reasoning for why each might be good for the respective role. Here they are:
When I first conceived the whole thing, I had Patrick Stewart (b.1940) in mind for Mitchell. Unfortunately, even though he looks great for his age, he is still too old for the part. Timothy Dalton (b.1942) would have been a great alternative, but he is also about 10 years too old. I considered Sean Bean (b.1959), too, but he’s too young. I think you’ll agree, however, that either of the following gentlemen would be great for it.
I couldn’t decide on a particular physicality for this character, but I do know that he has to come across as the real brainy type with a great sense of humor. Like these guys…
For our sophisticated lady, I first thought of Jessica Tuck, having seen her not long ago as a witch on “Grimm”. Then, a few more women of similar age and beauty came to mind, so… here are four possibilities. (Yes, I realize the last one is a little older than preferred, but she looks great!):
The late, great Ricardo Montalban would have been great for this, once upon a time. So would Henry Darrow… 25 years ago. But, I think I came up with a couple of wonderful actors that can provide exactly the mix of Latin charm and deadliness I’m looking for:
So,… whaddayathink? Sound like fun? Too derivative? Interesting possibilities? What combo do you like best? Not having any contacts in the business and not knowing who to pitch it to that would give me the time of day, it’ll probably never happen. But, it’s fun to think about….
* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2014.