‘Proven Innocent’ Executive Producer Danny Strong on the Grim Real-Life Case That Obsessed Him

Strong tells TheWrap about upcoming episode based on a sentence that “was so unjust and draconian”

Proven Innocent

While the fictional overturned murder conviction at the center of “Proven Innocent” isn’t based on one particular real-life case, that doesn’t mean Fox’s new legal drama won’t be pulling from actual examples of people who were — and some who weren’t — proven innocent.

“For the case of the week, I wouldn’t say they’re ripped from the headlines,” executive producer and writer Danny Strong told TheWrap in an interview ahead of “Proven Innocent’s” series premiere last Friday. “They are usually very loosely inspired from a case that we’ve heard about. Like we wanted to do something on transgender issues or we wanted to do something on the racial hate movement, the death penalty, shaken baby syndrome.”

“Certainly, we’ve been inspired by real-life cases too,” Strong added, before detailing one that he truly became obsessed with while working on the show’s first season.

“There was a case I read about of a Hindu woman who had a miscarriage and the details were a little murky, but she left her fetus in a dumpster and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. And the sentence was so unjust and draconian. And that inspired an episode, because a white woman wouldn’t have gotten that sentence. So we explore wrongful disposal of a fetus and exploiting the abortion argument.”

Created by David Elliot, “Proven Innocent” follows an underdog criminal defense firm led by Madeline Scott (Rachelle Lefevre), a fierce and uncompromising lawyer with a hunger for justice, who was wrongfully convicted at the age of 18 in a sensational murder case that made her an infamous media obsession.

Along with Lefevre, the series stars Russell Hornsby (Easy Boudreau), Vincent Kartheiser (Bodie Quick), Riley Smith (Levi Scott), Kelsey Grammer (Gore Bellows), Nikki M. James (Violet Price), and Clare O’Connor (Young Madeline).

“Proven Innocent” is produced by 20th Century Fox Television, in association with Danny Strong Productions. Strong, Elliot and Stacy Greenberg are executive producers. Adam Armus is an executive producer and showrunner.

“Proven Innocent” airs Fridays at 9/8c on Fox.