A New Dramatic Series by Paul Mancini & Francisco Escobar
What is “WORKS?”
WORKS is a dramatic television series in development committed to social change and awareness of America’s “Invisible Class”. It is a poignant and realistic human drama about the casualties of the America’s War on Drugs, Life After Prison, Addiction, Family, Recovery and Redemption. WORKS is a contemporary, fictional story, set in present day New York City and is based on the life stories of real people.
From New York City's AIDS crisis of the 1980s emerges a young, idealistic doctor with a mission to find a cure and offer comfort to the afflicted. Discouraged by pessimism, the uncaring bureaucracy of the medical field and a battle with his own personal demons, Conrad Britton retreats from the world. After a long struggle with depression and addiction, he eventually enters recovery and re-discovers his calling.
Now, 20 years later, Conrad heads up a new pilot program designed to help incarcerated addicts at high risk for HIV/AIDS. With the support of a few loyal friends, Conrad Britton breaks convention and helps others battling addiction while pushing to change the national discussion about drug abuse and rehabilitation.
WORKS is about a doctor and AIDS researcher named Conrad Britton who builds a treatment facility for formerly incarcerated addicts at risk for HIV/AIDS.
WORKS has evolved from a stage play titled, “Last House on the Street” by Paul Mancini. The play was staged in the Winter of 2004 in Hempstead, New York and featured a main character, Joey Galascano (played by Quinn Hushion) who operates a residential treatment facility. On a snowy Christmas Eve, Joey is to discover one of his residents, Anthony Delano, is missing and may be involved in a crime. Once the story is out in the open, Joey is left to make one of the toughest decisions of his life. Will Joey follow the law and turn Anthony in, or will he protect him at the risk of jeopardizing whole house?
Later the original work was adapted into a dramatic television series with the same title. As research continued and took on a life of it’s own, the project would undergo extensive revisions to reflect the life stories of the people we had encountered. Through field interviews, extensive reading and volunteer work it became evident that there were major issues that the adapted pilot episode and the outlined first season failed to address.
While a central theme of the show, and the earlier stage play, was drug addiction the construction of the first pilot and the subsequent episodes didn’t address the “War on Drugs” politically and socially. It also did not address HIV/AIDS, The criminal justice system, race, nor did it portray a central character who challenged our collective perceptions of these issues. It was this re- examination that called upon us to broaden our scope to encompass issues that are of major concern to many addicts in treatment.
During the course of 2008 – 2009, the research phase of “WORKS” focused heavily on a program called “EXPONENTS” and it’s earlier pilot program called “A.R.R.I.V.E.” under the direction of Howard Josepher. These programs were attractive initially, because the program published success rates that were higher than the national average. What was later to be discovered, is that it provided a much needed holistic approach to treatment that went beyond the standard treatment models and provided services, care and a community of support, to help recovering addicts live healthier lives after detox.
After an extensive interview process with the staff, we have also become friends with many clients of the program who provided an insight to this world that is largely misunderstood. Our research would later take us to the Washington Heights Corner Project, the people from the “Drop the Rock” Campaign and then to Riker’s Island to observe baseline interviews of inmates with approaching release dates.
It was during this phase of the research that we decided to expand the scope of the show and change the show’s title from “The Last House of the Street” or“Last House” to “Works.”
What is the Goal of “WORKS”?
Ours is a process that is committed to the development of projects built upon diligence in research, journalistic integrity and artistic excellence. Beyond the opportunity to create quality dramatic television, it is the goal of “WORKS” and its creators to challenge the public’s perception of drug policy in the United States, and to provide its audience with a comprehensive understanding of America’s “War on Drugs.” It is not the intent of this project to advocate or condemn, but to artfully and honestly contribute to the enrichment of public discourse.