One year has passed since we heard that Universal Pictures has picked up the movie rights to Dean Unkefer’s novel ‘ 90 Church: The True Story of the Narcotics Squad from Hell.’ The studio has acquired then the film rights for Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders to helm.
Meanwhile, Unkefer’s fictionalized memoirs 90 Church was published in May by Random House and now, ‘Breaking Bad’ writer-producer George Mastras has signed on to adapt a true-crime tale that’s based on the novel by former Agent Dead Unkefer.
Mastras, best known though for his writing and directing work on the ‘Breaking Bad’ episode ‘Dead Freight’ got his start in television by penning the script for a single episode of the ABC crime drama ‘The Evidence’. He then went on to pen two episodes of SyFy’s ‘The Dresden Files’.
Beside 90 Church, Mastras is not currently slated for any projects. His presence is presumably enough to balance out any ill omens as does the story’s resemblance to this year’s mediocre Gangster Squad.
The title of 90 Church refers to the address in New York City where the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was formed to combat organized crime and drug traffic in the mid ’60s before it eventually merged with the DEA.
Joe Roth, Palak Patel and Deborah Giarratana are producing the flick. There’s no word when it might shoot.
Check out the book’s official description:
From 1950 through the late 1960s, America feared two great enemies: Communism and illegal drugs. While the espionage stories have been well publicized, the war against drugs was far more violent and has remained mostly secret.
At its peak, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) enlisted only 350 agents worldwide. In New York City, the center of organized crime and rum import, there were only 35 street agents in the bureau’s office at 90 Church Street. While the FBI refused even to acknowledge organized crime, these agents stood alone against a well-organized Mafia and vicious drug cartels. To survive against impossible odds, the agents used incredibly brutal and cunning tactics to make cases and bring the war to a stalemate. Their violent exploits on the streets of New York City became legendary to other law enforcement agencies and the underworld.
Using an ever-expanding network of enslaved criminal informants held together by secret immunity deals, the sinister reputation of 90 Church grew along with the rising body count. In 1968, alarmed politicians, who did not understand – nor could be told – about 90 Church operations, launched an ill-fated and arrogant investigation. Accusations were made against the agents based on taking undercover operations out of context and believing testimony from criminal informants. Now fighting a war on two fronts, 90 Church was dissolved and its agents discredited.
The book is a memoir based upon real cases and actual people. It is a story of a young agent’s downward slide into hell as he falls victim to addiction, deception, violence, and shifting loyalties. It is a desperate struggle in front-line combat to find justice and redemption. Ultimately, it is also the age-old tale of deals with the devil and what happens when something that is right is sacrificed to fight what is wrong.