By Maureen Lee Lenker
November 16, 2020 at 10:00 AM EST
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Big Sky country might be beautiful, but that doesn't mean there isn't something sinister lurking behind those snow-capped mountains and wide open spaces.

David E. Kelley returns to network television with this new ABC show based on a series of C.J. Box novels. The thriller, which has been described as Yellowstone meets True Detectivefollows private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillippe). When two sisters are kidnapped on a remote Montana highway, the duo joins forces with Cody's estranged wife Jenny (Katheryn Winnick). But soon they discover the girls aren't the first to go missing, leading to a race to stop a killer before they strike again.

In this exclusive clip above, Cody first argues with his estranged wife Jenny on the phone, before confronting his partner Cassie about complications in their romance. "Let's cut the wounded heart crap," he tells her. Their receptionist Denise (Dedee Pfeiffer) warns him that he should have seen this "trainwreck" coming. But if there's anything that's true about Big Sky, it's that audiences won't see any of its twists and turns coming.

Phillippe tells EW the show’s unraveling mystery box approach applies equally to its complex characters and cryptic crimes. “The show is a mystery and I think a huge part of its success is going to be tracking that as an audience member and the amount of surprises that the story innately springs upon the people watching," he teases.

It’s so shrouded in secrets Phillippe can’t say much but that it’s unlike anything he’s seen on TV before, particularly in its setting. “Montana is very much a character in the show,” Phillippe reflects. “The notion of Big Sky and wide-open spaces means that anything can be lurking behind any corner. People have this notion of it being bucolic and idyllic. Parts of Montana definitely are. But the characters on this show are investigating the darker parts of Montana. There's a lot of undiscovered territories.”

Phillippe says that when looking to sign on to the potentially sizable commitment of a television series he looks for shows he'd want to watch even if he weren't on them. Big Sky checks that box in a multitude of ways. "My favorite types of series [are] the ones that you just want to consume as soon as you possibly can," he says. "There's a pacing. The show has tons of humor. It moves really quickly. It's got a lot of surprises."

Another part of the show's appeal was working with David E. Kelley on his return to network TV, particularly because it came with a project out of the box from standard network television fare. "It's not procedural," notes Phillippe. " The undiscovered territory aspect of it all [is] a a setting that I feel like hasn't been overdone. [It's] a really diverse, eclectic group of characters. And then you marry the mystery with some dark humor."

Watch the clip above for more. Big Sky premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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