TORONTO (CBS) – For Corinne Brinkerhoff, the rise through the ranks of television has been swift and meteoric.
And it started right here in Boston. The 36-year-old studied television production at Boston University.
“It was really a wonderful, exciting, energizing place to be,” Brinkerhoff told WBZ’s Liam Martin on the set of her new show, “American Gothic,” a 13-episode murder mystery set to premiere Wednesday night at 10 p.m. on WBZ.
Not long after graduating from BU, she wrote a script for “Boston Legal” and then eventually becoming a producer of the hit series, “Jane the Virgin,” “The Good Wife” and “Elementary.”
Watch: Interview with Gabriel Bateman
And now — “American Gothic,” which is set in Boston but being shot in Toronto.
Early in the series, a concrete panel from a Big Dig tunnel falls onto a car. Inside that panel, officials find a clue that becomes key to the show. And if this seems familiar, that’s because it is. That very scene played out in 2006 here in Boston: a ceiling panel fell from a tunnel, killing a passenger and injuring the driver.
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Brinkerhoff remembered that tragedy well from her time at BU.
“We were in the middle of the Big Dig; the city was grappling with that. And that stuck in my head when I started to approach this show.”
In “American Gothic,” the tragedy leads police, in their search for the so-called “Silver Bells Killer,” to the prominent Boston family that installed those panels.
Watch: Interview with Stephanie Leonidas
And the scandal couldn’t happen at a worse time for the Hawthornes, whose daughter is in the middle of a run for mayor. Virginia Madsen plays the matriarch, Madeline, and she told Martin that the show *had* to be set in Boston.
“I think Boston is a character in itself in the show,” she said. “As we all know, Boston is a very political town. So it’s going to be interesting to see how Madeline handles that.”
Specifically, how she and her family handle being at the center of a scandal and an investigation into a serial killer.
Watch: Interview with Justin Chatwin
The actors admit: Even they don’t know who the killer will end up being.
“I’m not telling anyone,” Justin Chatwin said to Martin. Chatwin plays the Hawthornes’ drug-addicted son Cam. “But I’ve written it down on a hundred dollar bill.”
In fact, every actor has done the same, and whoever has it right will get the winnings.
And for Corinne Brinkerhoff, much is riding on that suspense. This is her first turn as an executive producer. And she’s betting Bostonians won’t be the only ones sucked in.
“It’s got the psychological thriller of who did what, who knows what, who was complicit in what, who’s hiding what — everybody’s got a secret.”