There’s an awful lot happening on ABC’s Quantico, a drama that’s ostensibly a Homeland-meets-Grey’s Anatomy hybrid. But at the show’s core—which can only be reached by peeling back the many layers of plot and mystery, which we tallied at “fifty-eleven”—you have a bunch of hot young FBI recruits making their way through training and [spoilers] betrayal. And it’s that central premise that’s the subject of a new lawsuit against executive producer Mark Gordon.

Deadline reports that Jamie Hellman, Barbara Leibovitz Hellman, and Paula Paizes have filed a suit against Gordon, alleging that he stole the idea for Quantico from Leibovitz and Hellman’s 1999 documentary, Quantico: The Making Of An FBI Agent. The complaint states that Paizes began a business relationship with Gordon in 2001, and suggested a film or TV adaptation of the documentary. Gordon’s Mark Gordon Company optioned the project, and Leibovitz and Hellman signed a deal in 2002 in which they “provided MGC with the film from the Documentary, information which was not included in the documentary, including all of their notes and transcripts related to the film.”


The development notes on the “Quantico Project” included a “conspiracy at the FBI Academy” plot; Paizes even described the concept as “a story about struggle/conflict and change — who saves who?? who are the real good guys etc?? who can you trust??” (Not the MGC, allegedly). The plaintiffs claim that Gordon said he’d get back to them on moving forward with the show—that was back in 2003. Which would explain why they were a little shocked to see the story unfold in the series premiere in September. So they’re seeking actual and punitive damages, as well as “based on” credit for Hellman and Leibovitz and their documentary. Given Quantico’s current kitchen-sink approach, expect the lawsuit to find its way into a future episode.