A terrorism crime drama television show loosely based on the career of former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is being developed for ABC, Variety reports. Kelly held the position twice, serving for 12 years in his second appointment. He will serve as a producer on the ABC show.
“I am very excited to be working on this project with ABC and the quality production team,” Kelly told POLITICO New York in a statement. (POLITICO New York also points out that the Variety story originally ran with a photo of Bill Bratton, the current commissioner.)
The project is loosely inspired by the achievements and expertise of Ray Kelly, the longest serving Police Commissioner in New York City’s history. It follows two Joint Terrorism Task Force Agents, a FBI Special Agent and a NYPD detective, both very different people with secrets who are thrown together to solve the terror crime of the century before it happens. Their target is a man who knows everything about terror because he was designed to sow it. Two of these people know each other intimately—but not the ones you think, or in the way you think.
Kelly, whose second tenure as commissioner was coextensive with Michael Bloomberg’s mayoralty, is best known for establishing the NYPD’s high-tech and super-invasive counterterrorism bureau, which he told “60 Minutes” in 2011 had the means and the training to take down an airplane.
Also from that segment: “It is nearly impossible now to walk a block in lower Manhattan without being on television. There are 2,000 cameras, and soon there will be 3,000—all of which feed into this control center housed in a secret location.”
In all likelihood though what makes Kelly an inspirational figure for a police-state propaganda series is his claim, in a memoir, Vigilance, published earlier this year, to have foiled some 16 terror plots against New York City during his time as commissioner. (Vanity Fair ran an excerpt in which Kelly details how he saved the Brooklyn Bridge from being blown up.)
Previously, “14” was the number that got thrown around for Terrorist Plots Foiled Since 9/11. “We have the best police department in the world and I think they show that every single day and we have stopped 14 attacks since 9/11 fortunately without anybody dying,” Bloomberg said in March of 2012.
A few months later, ProPublica ran an extensive fact check of this claim, picking through a list of the 14 plots—which the NYPD actually published (since updated to 16)—deeming that it “overstates the number of serious, developed terrorist plots against New York and exaggerates the NYPD’s role” in stopping them:
The list includes two and perhaps three clear-cut terrorist plots, including a failed attempt to bomb Times Square by a Pakistani-American in 2010 that the NYPD did not stop.
Of the 11 other cases, there are three in which government informants played a significant or dominant role (by, for example, providing money and fake bombs to future defendants); four cases whose credibility or seriousness has been questioned by law enforcement officials, including episodes in which skeptical federal officials declined to bring charges; and another four cases in which an idea for a plot was abandoned or not pursued beyond discussion.
In addition, the NYPD itself does not appear to have played a major role in breaking up most of the alleged plots on the list. In several cases, it played no role at all.
Also under Kelly, the—now unconstitutional!—police practice known as stop-and-frisk flourished. “We have had tremendous success,” Kelly told The New Yorker. “Crime is down, and stop-and-frisk is an important reason why.”
One of the key witnesses in the case against stop-and-frisk, criminologist and Columbia law professor Jeffrey Fagan, estimated that over the course of a decade the NYPD made more than 260,000 illegal stop-and-frisks. Fagan also found that black and Hispanic residents constituted 84 percent of stops.
After stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional, and newly-elected Mayor de Blasio decided to drop the city’s appeal, Kelly said, “People will suffer.” As the stops wound down, though, crime (and specifically violent crime) fell as well.
Then again maybe that’s why the show is “loosely inspired” by Kelly’s career. Artistic license!