The Spook Who Sat By The Door was a spy thriller novel released in 1969 centered on the fictional tale of the CIA’s first Black agent. By way of a new report, Lee Daniels has been cleared by the FX network to produce a pilot for a potential series based on the novel and 1973 film of the same name.
Deadline reports that Daniels has been named as an executive producer for FX’s adaptation of late author Sam Greenlee’s novel that focuses on the trials and rise of agent Dan Freeman. Joining Daniels in the effort is The Twilight Zone and The First Purge director Gerard McMurray, and Leigh Dana Jackson, who worked on Foundation and Raising Dion will serve as the pilot’s lead writer.
A film was released in 1973 directed by the late Ivan Dixon and adapted from a screenplay written by Greenlee. It has been reported that a Black FBI agent by the name of Aubrey Lewis told Greenlee that the novel was required reading for agents within the federal agency.
“The Spook Who Sat By the Door was my dad’s favorite book,” Daniels offered in a press statement. “He’d be so proud that I’m doing this and even prouder that I’m doing this with Gerard and Dana — two bold and brilliant Black storytellers.”
The Spook Who Sat By The Door has enjoyed something of a cult status among readers and its film was revolutionary at the time. Considering that the book was written as the glowing embers of the Civil Rights Movement were still warm, it was a timely book that highlighted the insidious nature of government meddling in the affairs of Black radical movements.
The idea for the series came to light back in August 2018. It isn’t known when the pilot will make its debut on the FX network.