Chicago cops, Irish bar at center of playwright Keith Huff’s ‘Full Circle’

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Chicago cops have been a favorite subject of local playwright Keith Huff, whose new television project — season two of DirecTV’s “Full Circle” — will revolve largely around the city’s law enforcers.

Slated to debut on the satellite provider’s Audience Network next spring, the new season of the original series centers on Jimmy Parerra (Terry O’Quinn), a Chicago cop who, 18 years ago, blew the whistle on police corruption. That resulted in his own father-in-law, chief of detectives Bud O’Rourke (Stacy Keach), being sent to federal prison. The show opens with Bud getting out of the slammer, bent on revenge.

The main part of each episode unfolds in an Irish bar in Chicago and focuses on a conversation between two characters closely involved with Jimmy and Bud’s story.

As in the first season of “Full Circle” — the television writing debut of playwright Neil LaBute, Chicago’s Profiles Theatre resident — one character from the previous episode will move into the next episode and get paired with a new character.

Unlike LaBute’s installment, the sophomore season also will take viewers outside the primary setting, into the offices of the FBI sting operation and the state penitentiary.

While the series is set in Huff’s hometown of Chicago, it will be filmed in Los Angeles starting later this month.

<b><i>Daniel Craig (left) and Hugh Jackman in a Broadway production of Huff’s play, “A Steady Rain.” | AP Photo</i></b>

Daniel Craig (left) and Hugh Jackman in a Broadway production of Huff’s play, “A Steady Rain.” | AP Photo

In addition to O’Quinn and Keach, DirecTV announced other cast members Monday, including Chris Bauer (“True Blood”), Rita Wilson (“The Good Wife,” “Girls”) Brittany Snow (“Pitch Perfect”), Patrick Fugit (“Gone Girl”), David Koechner (“Anchorman 2”), Calista Flockhart (“Brothers and Sisters”), Eric McCormack (“Perception”) and Kate Burton (“Scandal”).

Huff has written for acclaimed TV series, such as AMC’s “Mad Men” and season one of “House of Cards” on Netflix. He honed his craft in Chicago’s theater scene, where he penned plays in his free time while paying the bills through his day job editing a medical journal.

Huff shot to fame in 2007 with “A Steady Rain,” an emotionally gripping, two-man Chicago cop drama that began life at Chicago Dramatists. It moved to Broadway in 2009 in a production starring Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman.

McAninch Arts Center’s Playhouse Theatre at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn will present the Chicago Commercial Collective’s Off Loop Tour production of “A Steady Rain” for a limited run this weekend. The staging features Randy Steinmeyer and Peter DeFaria of the original cast. Tickets are $30. A free post-performance MAC Chat follows the Sunday matinee performance. For tickets visit AtTheMAC.org or call (630) 942-4000.

Last year, David Schwimmer directed Huff’s play “Big Lake Big City” at Lookingglass Theatre. The dark comedy’s myriad characters included a Chicago detective suffering from burnout.


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