Wilful Damage

A film by Michael Pogorelsky

Wilful Damage

Created by: Michael Pogorelsky

Country of origin: Russia

Logline: Two subversives, an unhinged femme fatale and a ruthless defector lady are obsessed with maintaining the balance of power in the new Cold War. Their plan backfires.

Synopsis (Season 1): Wilful Damage is a crime drama thriller about a vicious US agent discharged after she turns against her superior’s illegal drug trade. She starts to secretly “fix the world” as an Advisor in London, consulting corporations on crisis prevention. Advisor is forced to team up with a Russian Defector, who calls poisons her toys and adds reason and a supercar to the table. The quarrelling duo’s task, to assess political leverage of an offshore gas pipeline project, gets messy after Advisor is burned alive in a failed hit on Defector. They don’t care about money, enemies or winning anymore. Has the world gone insane? Define normal. Wilful Damage will explore the themes of obsession, exchange and power.

A word from the writer

Central character’s origin: Michael is an engineer turned writer. In the semiconductor industry, dealing with corporate espionage is part of business. Michael once managed a lab equipment export certification. The certifier’s expert, Tom, openly took pictures of the manufacturer’s lab. Tom said: “You are well prepared. I can just list some corrections. I am not the designer of your system.” Michael replied: “Just give us a list, and we shall see if we need it.” Later, Michael thought: “This guy is a walking disclaimer. Can there be a freelancer who gives advice to a person cruising in her car?” It should naturally be a female character with a tech background, probably an ex-spy with a dark past. Maybe, to fix problems in the outer world is just easier for her than fixing her own?

Why is Harley Quinn an inspiration? Dark humor makes Harley a vivid character; she is so mercurial she also drives the action. These two qualities are, in fact, the same. She is the story. Michael has worked a lot with people, and the toughest ones always exhibit this side. Expand to spies, arms dealers or politicians. Harley they are: “Hi. I’m nuts. Are you? Great! Let’s have a drink. Oh, meet my friend. Hannibal, join us, would you?”

Author’s relevant experience: Work in a research lab implies certain occupational hazards. Michael got exposed to toxic chemicals and poisoning symptoms. It was unpleasant. He participated in Basic practical training on Nonviolent Communication with the CNVC and read Gary Noesner; negotiation is a core competence for intelligence specialists.

Historical & political context: Initially, the character lacked her story and context, so Michael put the idea aside. Lately, the historical and political life has been so cumulative it transcended conclusive evidence to become common knowledge. The story kind of wrote itself.