Red Widow executive producer Melissa Rosenberg
(Source: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images North America)
By Valerie Milano
Pasadena, CA (Hollywood Today
) 3/6/13—“What drew me to the project in the first place was this character,” says Red Widow
executive producer Melissa Rosenberg. “This is a flawed female character, as all human beings are. It’s a very human character. And I think that’s something that has been really exciting to bring to network television.
is the story of a devoted stay-at-home mother and daughter of a Russian gangster, Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell), whose world turns upside down when her husband, Evan, is gunned down in their driveway just a day
after he vows to leave his career in organized crime. As Marta begins to uncover the details surrounding Evan’s death, she takes on the responsibility of repaying his debt to international crime boss Nicholae Schiller. That debt is the theft of millions of dollars of cocaine belonging to Schiller by Evan’s business partners—Marta’s brother, Irwin Petrov and their best friend Mike Tomlin. Refusing help from the FBI, Marta relies on maternal instinct and her family business experience to keep her three children safe.
Radha Mitchell spoke on her character in Pasadena, CA earlier this year saying, “…I think Melissa [Rosenberg] wrote a woman who has a duality, which is very complex…basically she’s a woman who is a housewife, who has been sort of avoiding her criminal upbringing by living the life of a soccer mom and is suddenly dragged into a world that she’s been trying to avoid pretty much her whole life, when her husband is assassinated in relation to a drug incident. And in the process she discovers things about herself and talents that she didn’t know she had and becomes more and more compelled by the likes of Nicholae Schiller who is this evil, or maybe not so evil, drug lord in San Francisco.”
Mitchell’s character is woman whose desire is to protect her family, but in order to do so must go down a dangerous path. Rosenberg said, “…the story is about Marta protecting her family, protecting her children…that is what the series is about, and the lengths she’ll go to do that, not always necessarily making the right choice, and walking into Schiller’s office at the end of the pilot may or may not have been the best choice. It was the best choice in that moment…now begins a relationship and a sort of slow bringing her into that world where…she will find that her Petrov DNA starts kicking into gear.”
’s fast-paced 2-hour premiere episode, this past Sunday, gave viewers a concise background of the events leading up to Marta’s emergence into the world of organized crime. When asked about the possibility of flashbacks throughout the upcoming season, Rosenberg said, “…I made a very conscious choice to move on from Marta’s husband…there [are] so many interesting characters she’s surrounded with now that I didn’t want to dwell in what was.”
As a mid-season premiere on ABC, Red Widow
will air eight episodes. “If you have time to write a good show and you have time to develop it, you get good storytelling…So when we got midseason eight episodes, that’s exactly what I wanted. So I had as much time to write and develop the show as I did on Dexter
, which is three months going in, whereas a lot of network shows have maybe seven weeks,” Rosenberg said of the creative benefits she experienced with Red Widow
airs on ABC Sunday nights at 10pm and the pilot episode can be seen online at http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/red-widow/index.