Sitcom Inspired by Boston Crime Boss James ‘Whitey’ Bulger in the Works

  • Share
  • Read Later
FBI / Getty Images

He’s not Tony Soprano, but he just might be the next on-screen gangster.

Fox has purchased a comedy about a young couple that unintentionally lives next door to a murderer. The project, spearheaded by former Seinfeld writer-producer Peter Mehlman, is inspired by reputed mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, a legendary criminal that evaded the FBI’s radar for 15 years — only to be discovered living a quiet, mundane live in a Santa Monica, Calif., apartment.

(PHOTOS: The Many Looks of James “Whitey” Bulgar)

Bulger, now 82, was arrested outside his apartment in June.

The show will not feature the actual Whitey Bulger as a character, but Mehlman said the pilot draws from his story. Bulger, as one of the FBI’s most wanted men, reportedly lived in his Santa Monica apartment building for 15 years.

“I can’t imagine how many times I walked past him,” Mehlman told The Wrap.

Bulger, a heavy hitter in Boston’s criminal underground, has a laundry list of charges that includes 19 counts of murder, narcotics distribution and extortion. He is currently in custody in Massachusetts.

The new show isn’t the first time art has imitated Bulger’s life. He was also reportedly the inspiration for Frank Costello, the gangland chief played by Jack Nicholson in Martin Scorcese’s The Departed.

MORE: LIST: Top 10 Notorious Fugitives

Kai Ma is a TIME contributor. Find her on Twitter at @Kai_Ma or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.