Priyanka Chopra's debut American TV series "Quantico" is courting fresh controversy after it has been alleged that the idea for the show has been stolen from a 1999 documentary.
The producer of the drama series, Mark Gordon, has been sued for allegedly lifting the idea for his TV series from Jamie Hellman and Barbara Leibovitz's "Quantico: The Making of an FBI Agent", a documentary revolving around a class of recruits through their 16-week training program. It was aired on CNN in 1999.
Hellman and Leibovitz along with business exec Paula Paizes on Thursday filed a 35-page lawsuit against Gordon in the Los Angeles Superior Court, reported Deadline.
In the August of 2001, Paizes and Gordon had formed a "business relationship" with each other "in which Paizes actively worked with Gordon to develop and raise money for certain film projects and to source funding and strategic partnership for Gordon and MGC", Gordon's company, the suit states.
In around December 2001, Paizes, Leibovitz and Hellman also discussed about the documentary and "Paizes immediately realised the potential commercial value of the documentary, believing it could manifest into a movie or television series. "
The same month, the project was pitched to Gordon and he "agreed" and the project came to be known as "Quantico".Leibovitz and Hellman were introduced to MCG and a deal was struck between them, the filmmakers said in their complaint."They have a ton of research and they can get us inside Quantico and the FBI," Paizes had said in an email to Gordon and MGC associates.
"Quantico" was initially supposed to be a movie.
According to the suit, in May 2002, Leibovitz and Hellman executed an agreement with MGC through their company Leibovitz-Hellman Productions and provided Gordon's company with "film from the Documentary, information which was not included in the Documentary, including all of their notes and transcripts related to the film".
In February 2003, Paizes emailed Gordon stating Quantico would make a "great drama series" and Gordon, who was working for another production at that point replied saying "I would be happy to discuss this when I get back. It's a good idea."
However, the suit states, that neither Gordon nor his company made any efforts to "develop" the Quantico project.
After their contract expired in April 2003, it was not renewed or extended and MGC's right to use the materials provided by Leibovitz-Hellman Productions also expired, it further states.Gordon allegedly went on to develop "Quantico" without including Paizes, Leibovitz and Hellman in the project.
Stating that there are several similarities between what was proposed by Paizes, Leibovitz and Hellman and the TV series, the suit states, "The plot of Quantico substantially resembles the plotlines created and molded by Paizes."
The Deadline report further states that the filmmakers have alleged "breach of contract, fiduciary duty and more, the filing seeks a jury trial, actual and punitive damages and a â€śbased onâ€ť credit for Hellman and Leibovitz and their documentary."
Gordon is credited with TV series such as Grey's Anatomy, Criminal Minds, and Ray Donovan. He has also produced movies such as The Patriot, The Day After Tomorrow and Saving Private Ryan, among many others, the complaint states.