When Norman Jewison’s Oscar-winning film In The Heat Of The Night was released in 1967, the world was a different place. Americans were embroiled in an acrimonious national conversation on race relations, white supremacist organizations were making alliances with law-enforcement agencies, and cinema was coming into its own as a platform for thoughtful social commentary. Today, movie theaters are almost exclusively for superhero adaptations. But now we have cable television, and since most of the rest of that stuff remains unchanged, that’s where the rebooted version of In The Heat Of The Night will soon be found, as Deadline reports.
Based upon John Ball’s 1965 novel, the original cinematic version starred Sidney Poitier as a black police detective from Philadelphia who gets caught up in a murder investigation in a rural Mississippi town and must work alongside a less-than-progressive white local police chief played by Rod Steiger. (It’s kind of like if Mississippi Burning wasn’t mostly about white people.) The present day TV adaptation is currently being developed by The People Vs. O.J. Simpson writer/producer Joe Robert Cole, along with Warren Littlefield (Fargo), and Tate Taylor (The Help) who was heading up an earlier incarnation of this project with Showtime in 2014.
In The Heat Of The Night was previously adapted into a television series starring Howard Rollins (Roots) and Carroll O’Connor (All In The Family), which aired on NBC for eight seasons from 1988 to 1992. This new version will probably have coarser language and more nudity.