Look for Will Trent at the 2023 SCAD TVfest in Atlanta.
Will Trent the detective? Or Will Trent the series? Both, sort of.
Of course, Will Trent is a fictional character in the new primetime series on ABC as well as the main character in a series of novels by author Karin Slaughter. Buy, yes, Ramón Rodríguez who plays Will on TV, along with other cast members, showrunner Dan Thomsen and Slaughter will be on hand for a Q&A session after a screening of the show on Saturday, February 11th. Tickets ($5) can be purchased here for the Will Trent event at SCAD TVfest in Atlanta.
The Will Trent series has the unique position of bringing book fans to the series as well as the reverse. Some viewers are now seeking out the books after first watching the show. Of course, the age-old question is whether the show is as good as the books. Personally, I enjoy both, but categorize them differently based on tone and pace.
What’s going on?
The television series finds GBI Special Agent Trent being paired with Atlanta Police Department’s Faith Mitchell (Iantha Richardson) to work a murder/kidnapping case. Faith is not keen on working with Will since her mother was part of a group of law enforcement officers taken down by one of Will’s investigations. Will’s boss, Amanda Wagner (Sonja Sohn) is the one who pairs the odd couple and tasks them to make it work.
Some comedy ensues as Will and Faith bump heads during investigations. Initially, Will attempts to hide his dyslexia from Faith and Faith stays mum about her health concerns. But over a few episodes, Will and Faith begin to open up to one another learning more about what makes each of them tick. Their histories impact how they work. Will grew up in the Atlanta foster care system and Faith is a young mother.
Special Agent Trent is entangled on and off romantically with APD Detective Angie Polaski (Erika Christensen). Will and Angie are bonded by their shared time in the foster care system. While the two are extremely close, we are not totally convinced that a romantic relationship is the healthiest for these two. Will’s adopted chihuahua Betty is the other lady in his life. We get to see another side of Will as he cares for the little dog.
Angie is a recovering addict, which adds complexity to her time as an undercover vice cop. There is a wrinkle in her reassignment to homicide when she is paired with Michael Ormewood (Jake McLaughlin). Let’s just say Angie and married Michael have “been together” before.
What ‘Will’ you get on TV?
The television series has a fairly strong focus on the interpersonal relationships among the characters. Much like an investigation in itself, the relationships slowly unfold before us giving us a little more background each week.
Of course, the other focus is obviously the cases they are all working. Will’s dyslexia gives him a unique sensibility for studying a crime scene. Will’s difficulty reading brings its fair share of frustration to his work as well. The cases are solved quickly, much more quickly than in the novels. And as dark as the crimes can be, comedic elements are also woven into the investigation process.
Look for clever crime solving, comedy and relationship drama.
What ‘Will’ you get in the books?
I am not an expert on the books but am familiar enough to note some obvious differences.
The cases are solved significantly faster in the television series, making them less realistic but with a quicker payoff. The crimes on the show may be just as grisly as those in the books, but the show offsets some of that darkness with comedic elements. Also, do not expect all the characters to act the same way on the show as they do in the books.
I do suspect that most of the changes are intentional. The major network format may prevent more direct translation from book to screen.
Yes, the show and books differ in tone and pacing. Characters and relationships may be altered for the stories planned for television. I find the show more entertaining and the books more immersive.
I may leave an episode of the show wondering what is going to happen next with a character or marveling at how the case was uniquely solved. As far as the books, I may actually need to step back from it for a while due to the heaviness of the material.
Ultimately, Will’s unique sensibilities from dyslexia and his troubled upbringing make for compelling storytelling in both the book and show formats.
I look forward to hearing what insights and opinions the cast and creatives will have to share in their panel at SCAD TVfest. The Will Trent screening is scheduled for 2:00 pm ET on Saturday, February 11th.
SCAD TVfest provides the opportunity for students and the general public to learn firsthand from television industry experts representing careers both in front of and behind the cameras. Follow SCAD TVfest on Facebook and Instagram for additional details and announcements.
SCAD, dubbed “The University for Creative Careers” has a global presence with over 16,000 students studying across more than100 different degree programs including both undergraduate and graduate studies. Learn more about the university at SCAD’s website.
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