CBS' latest crime drama tells a familiar, but underexplored, story. While most shows on television that cover a new crime every week focus on stopping the bad guys, CBS' new show Ransom is all about negotiating with the enemies. The show follows an ace team of experts dedicated to stopping kidnap and ransom cases, and making sure that everyone gets out alive. This team's leader is Eric Beaumont, the best negotiator in the world who refuses to resort to violence to take on his enemies — instead opting to manipulate them into doing what he wants. While the show is rooted in a very real aspect of criminal justice, Is Ransom's Eric Beaumont a real person?
Beaumont, played by Luke Roberts, is a fictional character created for Ransom, but he has a very real influence. Variety reported that the series is inspired by "Laurent Combalbert, who, along with his partner, Marwan Mery, is considered to be among the top negotiators in the world." The French negotiators who inspired the show currently manage ADN Group, which is "a unique agency of professional negotiators." They perform negotiations ranging from "critical, social, commercial or diplomatic ... to the benefit of companies and governmental organizations." With such a wide breadth of experience, will Ransom tell all of Combalbert's and Mery's stories?
While Combalbert and Mery are direct inspirations for the series, Eric Beaumont seems to be his own character entirely. For starters, Eric is American, while Combalbert and Mery are both French. Further, Eric's expertise seems to be strictly criminal, while Combalbert and Mery claim to specialize in negotiations of nearly any breed, including criminal but also extending to professional business and other forms of non-criminal negotiation.
Combalbert and Mery may be far removed from Eric Beaumont, their stamp all is still all over the series. According to their bios on the ADN group website, the dyamic duo also act as "technical advisors and script doctors" to the series. This means they had a great deal of input into the series beyond being simply inspiration for others, and they had an active hand in the crafting of Ransom. The show also uses Combalbert and Mery's dedicated Pacificat method of negotiation, which uses a set of guidelines to determine the best course of action in a negotiation. The Pacificat method also happens to be available in app form from Combalbert himself.
While Ransom may not be a complete depiction of Combalbert and Mery's experiences, the show will at least be a thorough exploration of the two's experiences when it comes to criminal negotiations. While Combalbert and Mery defused real situations, the writers of Ransom will likely be doing their best to create the most complex, difficult, and unlikely hostage situations for Eric Beaumont and his team to try and crack their way through, making the show not just a test of the characters, but also a test of Combalbert and Mery's very own negotiation methods. See for yourself what this pair of experts do when Ransom premieres on CBS on Jan. 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET.