Blood Relative casts Melissa Leo and Tate Donovan in FOX crime drama

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 20: Melissa Leo discusses "Equalizer 2" with the Build Series at Build Studio on July 20, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 20: Melissa Leo discusses "Equalizer 2" with the Build Series at Build Studio on July 20, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images) /

Blood Relative is coming to FOX with considerable star power: Tate Donovan and Oscar winner Melissa Leo will lead the sibling-themed TV crime drama.

Blood Relative has cast its two leads—moving the FOX crime drama pilot immediately to the front of the class for next season. Academy Award winner Melissa Leo has signed up to star as the main character, with Tate Donovan co-starring as her brother.

Leo will play Louise Kelly, an expert in “genetic genealogy,” which utilizes genetic and family history to identify victims and serial killers alike. She’s a genius, but like many TV geniuses, is lacking when it comes to social skills.

Audiences know Melissa Leo from the Oscar she earned for The Fighter, but her breakthrough TV role was playing Sergeant Kay Howard on NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street from 1993 to 1997. She’s also guest-starred in episodes of Criminal Minds, Cold Case, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Law & Order.

Donovan’s character is Detective John Kelly (no relation to the NYPD Blue character of the same name). He’s everything that his sister Lou isn’t: happily married with two kids, well-liked and now a successful police officer. But working with his sister prompts him to ask about family secrets that could ruin all that.

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Having recurred on MacGyver as James MacGyver (the main character’s father), his other credits include Deception, Hostages and 24: Live Another Day.

He also appeared in a 1997 episode of Homicide: Life on the Street as Greg Kellerman, the brother of Mike Kellerman (Reed Diamond), during what would be Leo’s last season on the show.

Both actors are incredible individually, so pairing them together would seem like a recipe for great success. Either one could carry a crime drama on their own merit. The hurdle for FOX will be giving them enough to work with that this goes from pilot to series—and a successful series at that.

Blood Relative has a fairly vague concept, in the sense that most people will never have heard of it before, and may be inclined to dismiss it as another gimmick. We certainly have seen many shows in the “cop works with quirky outsider to solve crimes” sub-genre (i.e. Numb3rs, White Collar, and more recently Prodigal Son, to name a few).

If the script can differentiate this show beyond its scientific premise, then it could be a perfect fit not only for fans, but for FOX as a network.

Though not especially high-rated, Prodigal Son has found a following for its mix of crime and family drama, and this series would pair nicely with that. It’s a similar idea, except for that instead of parent and child, the key dynamic is between two siblings. Both shows even have family secrets to uncover. That could be a strong Monday night for viewers on a network that’s still looking for another breakout crime show.

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We’ll have to wait and see if Blood Relative is picked up to series, as the project is still in the pilot stage. But does the casting of Melissa Leo, as well as Tate Donovan, have you interested? Let us know in the comments.