The newest original series to hit Netflix is Bloodline, a dramatic thriller that follows the Rayburn family, pillars of their community in the North Florida Keys. The surface is sunny, but it's clear as the Rayburn clan gathers for a family celebration that darkness lies beneath. An ominous tone is set in the opening lines of the series: "Sometimes, you know something's coming. You feel it in the air, in your gut. You don't sleep at night, a voice in your head's telling you something's going to go terribly wrong, and there's nothing you can do to stop it."
Those words are spoken by the upstanding John Rayburn, played by Kyle Chandler, and that "something" is the return of the family's prodigal son, John's older brother Danny, played by Ben Mendelsohn. Danny's decision to stay home after years of a transient existence set off a string of events that lead to increasingly troubling consequences.
The creators of Bloodline are Daniel Zelman and brothers Todd and Glenn Kessler, collectively known as KZK. They've been on the business before, in 2011, when their FX drama Damages had been canceled but found new life on DirecTV. That was great for fans...who had DirecTV. As Todd Kessler pointed out when the Kessler brothers returned to our studios, many of their Damages fans were based in Manhattan, where the show was set, a place that's also extremely difficult to get DirecTV if you live in an apartment building.
Today Damages fans can watch the entire series on Netflix, where they can also find KZK's new show Bloodline. When it came to casting this dramatic family thriller, Todd and Glenn Kessler had strong ideas about which actors they'd like to play the members of the Rayburn family before they even wrote their first script.
Glenn Kessler tells us the first person they approached was Kyle Chandler, known to fans of Friday Night Lights as Coach Taylor. In Bloodline they had the opportunity to take a beloved good guy and manipulate audience expectations to bring out an additional depth and darkness to the character. To play Danny, the older brother of Chandler's John Rayburn, KZK purposefully sought out someone less familiar to American audiences, Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn.
Bloodline was shot on-location in the Northern Keys of Florida, a place filled with stunning natural beauty, but also a lot of bugs. Despite the challenges of dealing with mosquitoes, sunburns and ever-present humidity, the Kessler brothers say the show will stay in Florida for future seasons, of which they hope there will be several.
Todd A. Kessler, TV writer and producer (@Bloodline)
Glenn Kessler, TV writer and producer (@Bloodline)