Angela Bassett gets a new “Identity”

Another remake of a British TV series is on deck from ABC. This time, however, the U.S. version may turn out to be better than the original, thanks in part to the actress just announced as the show’s lead.

Angela Bassett will play FBI Special Agent Martha Lawson in Identity, a police procedural drama centered on the bureau’s new Identity Crimes Unit. Martha is described as a “Bronx-tough Vassar graduate from Greenwich [who is] determined to make a go of this division, using sophisticated technology combined with good old fashioned investigative methods.” Bassett’s character heads the unit.

The ITV version of Identity lasted only a single, six-episode series, starting strong but losing viewers with each episode. (Keeley Hawes, who played Lawson in the original, got an unwelcome lesson in method acting when she fell victim to identity fraud while filming the series.) Critics blamed the failure on clichéd dialogue and predictable plotting, i.e., bad writing. Since the premise seems like it would provide good story fodder, let’s hope ABC doesn’t stick too closely to the UK version.

Also starring is Prison Break’s Wentworth Miller as John Bloom, an investigator who has been undercover for 15 years and knows first-hand how to pretend to be someone you’re not.

Bassett always brings a tough intelligence to her parts and Identity sounds like the perfect chance for her to strut her badass stuff. And seeing a woman of color in the lead is always something to look forward to. After being honored at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon in February, she talked about the wealth of talent among black actresses.

No word yet on when the series is slated to premiere but, meanwhile, look for Bassett on the big screen in Jumping the Broom with Paula Patton and Loretta Devine.

Are you looking forward to Identity? If you saw the original, let us know what you thought.

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