1. News

Movie about dirty cop, now living in Hernando, gets top Hollywood director

Ken Eurell is a former officer with the New York Police Department arrested for his work with drug dealers. Sony Pictures bought the rights to his story for a Hollywood film. [Times files (2016)]
Published Feb. 17, 2018

A Hollywood movie about one of the New York Police Department's dirtiest cops — Ken Eurell, 57, now retired and living in Hernando County — has taken another rocky step closer to the silver screen.

No start date for production has been announced, but the film named for the 75th precinct in Brooklyn where Eurell worked made headlines last month in trade publications with the announcement that the director will be Craig Gillespie, who told the story of vengeful figure skater Tonya Harding in I, Tonya.

Gillespie takes over for a director who left the project — Yann Demange, best known for the British historical thriller '71. What's more, several well-known screenwriters have come and gone as The Seven Five sat in Hollywood limbo.

But Sony recently extended paid rights to the story and Gillespie is a hot property in Hollywood, giving Eurell confidence that his time has come.

"I've learned Hollywood works at a snail's pace," Eurell said in his still-thick Brooklyn accent. "To me this all means the movie will get made."

Since moving to the Tampa area in 1992, Eurell has lived a quiet life. He raised two sons as a stay-at-home dad, volunteered for the PTA, and obeyed the laws.

But he's never shied from his criminal past.

"I did those things. What can I do? Deny it? When you screw up to the point that I did, you say, 'Okay, now is the time to wake up and be a good citizen.' I have done the best I can. That's all I can do."

In the late 1980s, while making $19,000 a year to patrol one of the most dangerous precincts in the NYPD, Eurell was tempted into the life of a crooked cop by his partner Michael Dowd, making an additional $8,000 a week from drug dealers.

He moonlighted by providing security during drug runs and information about possible police raids. Later, the partners in blue used police connections to sell kilos of cocaine.

Their 1992 arrest made national news.

Then, while out on bail, to pay for an escape to Nicaragua, Dowd agreed to take a job kidnapping a woman for a drug dealer who planned to kill her.

That was too much for Eurell. He turned Dowd in and got just two months for his crimes.

Dowd served 12 years.

A documentary called The Seven Five and featuring Eurell already has been filmed and can be viewed on Netflix. Last year, Eurell published his memoir, Betrayal in Blue.

Now, via Twitter, people are heaping scorn on him, with some angry he's profiting from his corruption and others that he turned on his partner.

"So, they are advocates for murder?" Eurell said. "Idiots."

But nothing will elevate him as a target for criticism like Hollywood.

"I assume it can get worse. I know it won't get better."

His wife, Dori Eurell, a character in the movie script, echoes that sentiment.

"Obviously there is a nice side to all this," she said. "We've had the opportunity to meet celebrities, directors, producers, actors, comedians, radio personalities."

Then there are the online trolls, who send "vile messages" and "find fault that we participated in the documentary."

The story is public record, she notes, so a documentary was likely with or without them.

At least they got to tell their side, she said.

The same goes for the Hollywood version.

"So, I might as well make the best of it," Eurell said.

He has said he doesn't care who plays him in the movie.

His wife has ideas, though, he said — the actor-son of a Hollywood legend and the star of the dysfunctional family series Shameless.

"Scott Eastwood for me and Emmy Rossum for her," he said. "My wife put that out on Twitter and Emmy even liked it."

Contact Paul Guzzo at Follow @PGuzzoTimes.


  1. Joshua Michael Nichols, 21, was arrested by Pasco County Sheriff's deputies on Saturday in connection to the early morning shooting death of an unidentified man during an argument outside a Spring Hill home. [Pasco County Sheriff's Office] ANASTASIA DAWSON  |  Pasco County Sheriff's Office
    One person is in custody. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
  2. Yesterday• Pasco
    Dr. Rao Musunuru, MD, received his third “Paul Harris Award.” the highest recognition from the Rotary Club, on Aug. 15. The pin was presented to Dr. Musunuru, a nationally-recognized cardiologist, by Rotary 6950 District Governor Allen Collins in recognition of his humanitarian and philanthropic services to the people of Pasco County and the State of Florida for nearly 40 years. Pictured: Dr. Rao Musunuru, MD, (left) and Rotary 6950 District Governor Allen Collins. Jemith Rosa/Hudson Rotary Club
    News and notes about your neighbors
  3. A Lancaster County Sheriff's deputy walks around the Old Skool Sports Bar and Grill, the scene of a shooting early in the morning, north of Lancaster, S.C. on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.  Lancaster County Sherriff's Office said in a statement that the agency was investigating a fatal shooting that also injured several people.  (Jessica Holdman/The Post And Courier via AP) JESSICA HOLDMAN  |  AP
    Two adult males were shot and killed.
  4. Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, right, listens to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, during the Youth Climate Summit at United Nations headquarters, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.  (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez) EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ  |  AP
    Swedish 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg started the climate strike movement with her lone protest in front of her country’s parliament.
  5. Stay with for the latest news and updates. Times
    She was not in a crosswalk when she was hit, troopers say.
  6. Vice President Mike Pence reacts during an immigration and naturalization ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House grounds, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) ALEX BRANDON  |  AP
    Katie Waldman, a former University of Florida student senator, was accused of helping discard independent student newspapers with a front-page endorsement of a rival party’s candidate. | Analysis
  7. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. JAMAL THALJI  |  Tampa Bay Times
    John Clark used a shotgun to kill his mother and another man. Then he returned to the crime scene with a shotgun, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
  8. Sandra Gero, a regional search associate at Ray and Associates, hosts a meeting at the Middleton High School auditorium and gathers public comments on what people are looking for for the next Hillsborough County School Superintendent on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 in Tampa. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    Using public meetings and a survey, they’re painting a picture of the ideal school leader.
  9. The main exhibit center at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa once stirred the imagination with dinosaurs and stars. Now, it's empty, but on the verge of rebirth as a movie studio.
    The County Commission has set aside $2 million for the project as the Film Commission studies the demand for it.
  10. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP
    Hunter Biden worked for a Ukrainian gas company.