NBC is debuting a new crime drama Friday, January 10 with the premiere of Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for Bone Collector, based on the 1997 Jeffrey Deaver novel “The Bone Collector.” But some viewers know that it is not the first adaptation of this 1997 novel; in 1999, a feature film was released that earned $150 million at the box office. Here’s what you need to know about the cast and plot of the book and movie versus the new television series.
The Movie vs. Show Cast
Lincoln Rhyme: The title character of the TV series is former NYPD detective Lincoln Rhyme, who was left paralyzed years before due to an accident when he was working a crime scene and is now a quadriplegic. He is enticed back into consulting work for the NYPD by the case of a new serial killer calling himself “The Bone Collector.” He was played by Denzel Washington in the film and is played by Russell Hornsby on the show.
Amelia Sachs: This NYPD patrol officer is about to be transferred out of her position in the novel; on the TV show, she has big ambitions about the FBI that haven’t quite panned out yet for her. She finds herself working as Lincoln’s eyes and ears at crime scenes after finding the Bone Collector’s first victim. Angelina Jolie played “Amelia Donaghy” in the film; Arielle Kebbel plays Amelia on the show.
Det. Sellitto: This veteran of the NYPD is Rhyme’s former partner. He is always trying to get Lincoln to consult for the NYPD, both out of wanting Lincoln’s help and also wanting to help give Lincoln drive and purpose. He was played by Ed O’Neill in the film; Michael Imperioli plays him on the show.
Lincoln’s caretaker: In the novel, Lincoln’s in-home caretaker is a man named Thom who continues to appear in subsequent Rhyme novels. In the film, the character is changed to Nurse Thelma and is played by Queen Latifah; she is killed by the Bone Collector in the film. On the show, her name is Claire and she is played by Roslyn Ruff.
The Killer: In the novel, the Bone Collector turns out to be Rhyme’s doctor, who lost his family years ago when Lincoln failed to fully clear a crime scene; they were gunned down by the suspect, who was hiding under a bed. The movie changed that a bit, making the killer a former forensics expert whom Rhyme once accused of planting evidence resulting in six people’s wrongful imprisonment. He went to jail and when he got out, he vowed revenge on Rhyme. He was played by Leland Orser.
On the show, we don’t yet know the background for this Bone Collector because chasing him is going to be an on-going case. But one thing the show did change is that they made the Bone Collector responsible for Rhyme’s being paralyzed; it was a trap the Bone Collector set for Rhyme the first time he was killing in New York. He is played by Brian F. O’Byrne on the show.
The Others: The show also features a partner for Det. Sellitto named Eric Castillo (Ramses Jimenez); a younger sister for Amelia named Rachel (Courtney Grosbeck); two members of Lincoln’s investigation team named Kate (Brooke Lyons) and Felix (Tate Ellington); and an ex-wife and son for Lincoln, played by Claire Coffee and Jaidon Walls, respectively.
The Movie vs Show Plot
The 1999 film followed the events of the novel fairly closely. They changed up the climax and the killer’s motive a bit, but overall, it faithfully moved through all the major events of the novel.
The show, on the other hand, has to have a reason for viewers to keep tuning in other than the Serial Killer of the Week. So the premiere has a Bone Collector red herring and then reveals to the viewers that the real Bone Collector is still out there, biding his time and still very much obsessed with going up against Lincoln Rhyme again.
We don’t know how long they intend to drag the titular hunt for the Bone Collector out, but there are several more books the show can pivot to if need be. Should this TV series be successful, it would make a lot of sense to wrap up the Bone Collector and begin moving on to Rhyme and Sachs’ other cases. There are 14 novels so far in the Rhyme series; “The Vanished Man” in particular would make a great season of television.
Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector premieres Friday, January 10 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.