Thompson told the mostly adoring crowd that he tried to be fairly hands-off when it came to how his fictional counterpart was written. As a journalist, he said he’s had nightmares about subjects of his stories telling him he depicted them incorrectly. His suggestions to Simon and Overmyer were “occasional,” Simon said, and usually only came when the show diverted from reality in ways that damaged that reality. Otherwise, Thompson said, he was content to let go and see where the story went.

Even so, it looks like L.P. Everett will stay fairly true to the man he’s based on - especially in regards to Thompson’s work. Everett will investigate a body found in a burned car and the NOPD’s involvement in that case.

I asked Thompson if he’d noticed that the actor playing Everett (Chris Coy) was 26 years old—Thompson was about a decade older than that when he went to New Orleans. Thompson laughed, saying that in movies and cinema, “youth often prevails.” What he’s seen so far of Coy’s performance, he added, was “tremendous.” And while it’s a “crazy honor” to work with Simon and Overmyer and see a depiction of himself on the TV screen, “doing work that has some kind of real-world impact, that actually helps bring about a modicum of justice and some sort of social change, is the most rewarding thing … it’s why I do what I do.”


Sara Morrison is a former assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @saramorrison.