'Betrayal' producer says Chicago is a perfect partner for the adulterous ABC drama

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — When it came to adapting the Dutch TV series “Overspel” for a U.S. audience, producer David Zabel had one city in mind: Chicago.

“Chicago is honestly the most cinematic city in the country,” said the longtime “ER” writer.

The ABC drama revolves around a married photographer (Hannah Ware, “Boss”) who strikes up an affair with a powerful attorney — an attorney who is about to face off with Ware’s lawyer husband in a high-profile murder case involving a clouted-up Chicago family.

“This show is trying to encapsulate part romance and part thriller, so Chicago’s a great city for that,” Zabel said. “It’s perfect for a story in which we want to talk about the grandeur of this wealthy family and also a more violent, dangerous world. Chicago has great extremes of highs and lows, of beauty and disadvantage.”

ABC Studios filmed the pilot in Chicago earlier this year, shooting scenes at Tribune Tower and Lake Forest’s Schweppe mansion, home of James Cromwell’s (“American Horror Story”) deep-pocketed, shady character.

Late last month, cast and crew began shooting the remaining 12 episodes. (“Betrayal” is a limited series, meaning it has a shorter, self-contained season. If the network were to pick it up for a second season, it would feature the same characters but follow a different storyline.) They’ll be filming in Millennium Park, along the Riverwalk and at the Oriental Theatre for a concert hall scene. The production’s sound stage is at Chicago Studio City (former home of short-lived “The Mob Doctor”) on the West Side.

In the pilot, Ware’s character first meets her lover (Stuart Townsend) one night on an outdoor balcony at the Tribune. The city is lit up in the background — but not the colorful peacock on rival network’s NBC Tower. Logos and advertisements are often removed in the editing room, Zabel said, adding “They’re not going to show NBC for sure.”

Ware is getting used to filming in Chicago. Her first TV show, Starz’s political drama “Boss,” was filmed here before being canceled last fall. She played ruthless Mayor Tom Kane’s (Kelsey Grammer) troubled daughter.

“It’s so weird because it’s one of these cities that I’d never even really thought about, other than it’s got wonderful architecture,” the English model/actress said. “It wasn’t somewhere that I was desperate to go, and then ‘Boss’ happened. I just really enjoy it a lot.”

“I really think that Chicago, as a city, is almost its own character,” she added. “It’s kind of like a Tom Hardy novel where the kind of scenery really feeds the characters in the story. I really like that.”

“Betrayal” premieres at 9 p.m. Sept. 29 on WLS-Channel 7.

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