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Big Sky (subtitled as Deadly Trails for Season 3) is an American crime drama thriller television series created by David E. Kelley. It's based on the C. J. Box book The Highway. The series was premiered on ABC as a fall entry in the 2020–21 television season on November 17, 2020 and concluded on January 18, 2023.

In May 2023, the series has been cancelled after three seasons.

Premise[]

Private detectives Cassie Dewell and Cody Hoyt join forces with his estranged wife, ex-cop Jenny Hoyt, to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana. But when they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they must race against the clock to stop the killer before another woman is taken.

Main Cast[]

Current[]

Former[]

Episodes[]


Season Episodes Originally aired (U.S. dates)
Season premiere Season finale
1 16 November 16, 2020 May 18, 2021
2 18 September 30, 2021 May 19, 2022
3 13 September 21, 2022 January 18, 2023

Production[]

Development[]

The series, based on C. J. Box's novel The Highway and developed by David E. Kelley, was announced as The Big Sky in January 2020 and given a straight-to-series order by ABC. The series is produced by David E. Kelley Productions, A+E Studios and 20th Television. Kelley and Ross Fineman serve as executive producers, along with Box, Matthew Gross and Paul McGuigan. On June 17, 2020, it was announced that the series would air on Tuesdays at 10:00/9:00c. On September 17, 2020, it was announced that the series set to premiere on November 17, 2020. On December 7, 2020, ABC gave the series a six-episode back order, making the total number of episodes ordered to 16. On May 4, 2021, ABC renewed the series for a second season. It was also reported that Elwood Reid who was added as an executive producer for the second half of the first season took the second season from Kelley. However, Kelley is still involved with the series and remains as an executive producer. On May 13, 2022, ABC renewed the series for a third season. The subtitle for the third season is Deadly Trails. On May 12, 2023, ABC canceled the series after three seasons.

Casting[]

John Carroll Lynch, Dedee Pfeiffer, Ryan Phillippe and Katheryn Winnick were the first cast additions announced through February 2020. In March 2020, Brian Geraghty, Kylie Bunbury, Natalie Alyn Lind and Jesse James Keitel were added, with Bunbury in the lead role. On June 24, 2020, it was announced that Jade Pettyjohn joined the cast in a starring role. On August 6, 2020, Valerie Mahaffey joined the main cast. On October 8, 2020, Brooke Smith, Jeffery Joseph, Gage Marsh, and Gabriel Jacob-Cross were cast in recurring roles. On December 1, 2020, Camille Sullivan, Chad Willett, and Patrick Gallagher joined the cast in recurring capacities. In January 2021, Ted Levine was cast as a new series regular while Kyle Schmid, Michelle Forbes, Britt Robertson, Michael Raymond-James, Ryan Dorsey and Omar Metwally were cast in recurring roles. On April 12, 2021, Carlos Gómez, Anja Savcic, and Zoë Noelle Baker joined the cast in recurring roles. On July 20, 2021, Metwally was promoted as a series regular for the second season. On August 17, 2021, Janina Gavankar was cast as new series regular while Savcic was promoted as a series regular, and Keitel was demoted to recurring for the second season. Two days later, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Madelyn Kientz, Troy Johnson, Lola Reid, Jeremy Ray Taylor, T.V. Carpio, and Arturo Del Puerto joined the cast in recurring roles for the second season. On August 24, 2021, Logan Marshall-Green was cast a new series regular for the second season. On August 26, 2021, Lynch confirmed that he is set to return in some capacity for the second season. On September 21, 2021, Vinny Chhibber, Romy Rosemont, Ryan O'Nan, Michael Malarkey, and David Meunier joined the cast in recurring roles for the second season. in February 2022, Constance Zimmer and Bernard White were cast in recurring roles for the second season. On May 12, 2022, it was reported that Jensen Ackles is set to guest star for the second season finale. The next day, it was announced that Ackles and Sigler had been promoted to series regulars for the third season. Few days later, Reba McEntire was cast a series regular for the third season. On July 18, 2022, it was announced that J. Anthony Pena was promoted to a series regular while Luke Mitchell, Seth Gabel, Henry Ian Cusick, Anirudh Pisharody, and Madalyn Horcher were cast in recurring roles for the third season. On August 5, 2022, Rosanna Arquette joined the cast in a recurring role for the third season. The following week, Rex Linn was cast in an undisclosed capacity for the third season.

Filming[]

Filming on the series' first season began on August 27, 2020, and is scheduled to conclude on January 13, 2021, in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia. Filming was originally set to take place in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Las Vegas, Nevada, but the series was moved to Vancouver in July 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The series was one of many American television productions in Vancouver that briefly halted filming in late September 2020, due to delays in receiving cast and crew COVID-19 test results.

Release[]

Marketing[]

On September 9, 2020, ABC released the first teaser for the series.

Broadcast[]

The series premiered on November 17, 2020, on ABC. Big Sky airs in Canada on CTV, simulcast with ABC in the United States. In India, the series was streamed on Disney+ Hotstar along with ABC. Internationally, the series premiered on Disney+ under the dedicated streaming hub Star as an original series, on February 23, 2021, and in Latin America the series premiered on August 31, 2021 On Star+.

The second season premiered on September 30, 2021, on ABC. The third season premiered on September 21, 2022.

Reception[]

Critical response[]

For the series, review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 62% based on 21 critical reviews, with an average rating of 6.76/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Big Sky's shaky setup doesn't do it many favors, but viewers who can push through may find its fast-paced, twisty mystery compelling enough." Metacritic gave the series a weighted average score of 58 out of 100 based on 16 critical reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".

Ratings[]

Based on average total viewers per episode of Big Sky on ABC:

Season Timeslot (ET) No. of
episodes
Premiered Ended TV season Rank Avg. viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere viewers
(in millions)
Date Finale viewers
(in millions)
1 Tuesday 10:00 PM 16 November 17, 2020 8.39 May 18, 2021 2.96 2020–21 26 7.35
2 Thursday 10:00PM 18 September 30, 2021 3.13 May 19, 2022 2.41 2021–22 46 5.74
3 Wednesday 10:00PM 13 September 20, 2022 2.21 January 18, 2023 2.40 2022–23 TBA

Controversy[]

After the pilot aired, members of the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, Global Indigenous Council, Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Association, and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), among others, addressed a letter to ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke and series creator David E. Kelley, "accusing the show of “at best, cultural insensitivity, and at worst, appropriation” due to being set in area with a disproportionately high rate of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women & Girls (MMIWG), yet not having any tribal representation in the show."

Gallery[]

Promotional Images[]

External links[]

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