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  • Writer's pictureCaitlin Rother

Death On Ocean Boulevard, the Rebecca Zahau story, is in development for a limited TV series

By Caitlin Rother

I'm very excited to announce that after many years of trying, I've got my first book option under my belt: Untitled Entertainment has optioned my latest book -- on the Rebecca Zahau death case -- and is developing it into a high-end limited TV series, with me as an executive producer.

We are still in the early stages, which involve Untitled talking to showrunners about how they would approach the project, and also discussing potential talent and star attachments. In translation, that means, they are looking for the best writers, actors, and directors to make this dramatic series a reality.

This book is different from all my other true crimes, because it reveals some of my own personal story. So I have a strong incentive to make sure this story is told right on the screen, just as I did on the pages of my book, as we show the fruits of my own investigation as well as my thoughts and insights based on my husband's suicide by hanging in 1999.

The community is very emotionally invested in this case, which has received a huge amount of media attention that continues today as the Zahau family pursues a lawsuit seeking to obtain investigative records from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. I may be posting a separate blog about that, but the court paperwork is pretty arcane with lots of legalese, so I'm trying to figure out how to translate that for my readers so it's easier to understand. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, read below for the full news release that Untitled put out about the TV series. It was just announced in an exclusive story in Deadline, the Hollywood trade magazine, which ran a much shorter version of this.

I'm very grateful for all the doors this is already opening for me. I've been receiving lots of interesting offers to appear on TV, radio and podcasts, to collaborate and write various other projects, and to participate in writers conferences. As a friend of mine said, it appears that "the dam on Lake Caitlin has burst." I just love that!

I will announce new developments as I can, but these things take time, and sometimes involve protracted negotiations. Onward!


Untitled Entertainment has acquired the film/tv rights to new true crime book, Death On Ocean Boulevard: Inside The Coronado Mansion Case, written by New York Times best-selling author and investigative journalist, Caitlin Rother. Rother will serve as Executive Producer alongside Untitled Entertainment. The project is in early development as a scripted limited series. A writer is not yet attached.

Published in April 2021, Death On Ocean Boulevard chronicles the harrowing story of Rebecca Zahau, who was found dead on the morning of July 13, 2011, at the historic Spreckels Mansion, a lavish beachfront property in Coronado, California, owned by her boyfriend, a powerful pharmaceutical tycoon. When authorities arrived, they found Rebecca naked, gagged, her ankles tied, her wrists bound behind her, and a cryptic message scrawled on a door: SHE SAVED HIM CAN YOU SAVE HER.

Was this a suicide note, or a killer’s taunt? Rebecca’s death came just two days after her boyfriend’s son took a devastating fall while in Rebecca’s care. Authorities deemed Rebecca’s death a suicide resulting from her guilt, but her family insists she was murdered. But who would stage a suicide or a murder in such a bizarre, elaborate way? The family believes it was her boyfriend’s brother, and a civil jury agreed, but he insists he is innocent.

Author Caitlin Rother, whose husband hung himself, gives readers an objective, but uniquely personal look at the evidence and theories in this case. Rother provides a detailed window into Zahau’s past growing up as a religious Burmese refugee, overcoming insurmountable odds. The portrait is intimate, layered, and above all honest – a depiction of which most victims, especially women of color, are deprived in the media.

“I’m thrilled at the prospect of seeing this compelling and important story play out on the screen,” Rother said. “The case is still developing as we speak, with a pending lawsuit by the Zahau family that seeks to re-open the criminal case, so I’m excited to see where it will go next.”

Caitlin Rother has had a prolific career as an author, with fourteen books published, many of them bestsellers. Her titles include Dead Reckoning; Hunting Charles Manson; Secrets, Lies, and Shoelaces; Naked Addiction; Then No One Can Have Her; I'll Take Care of You, Twisted Triangle, Body Parts, and Poisoned Love. During her nearly 20 years as a full-time investigative reporter, Rother’s stories have been published in Cosmopolitan, the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Daily News of Los Angeles, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and The Daily Beast.

Rother was represented on this deal by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary and Romano Law.

Founded in 1999 by Jason Weinberg and Stephanie Simon, Untitled Entertainment is a full service management company representing actors, writers and filmmakers with offices in Los Angeles, New York and London. In 2019, Untitled expanded into brand creation and management and increased its television production department by way of a partnership with Canada’s Boat Rocker Media.

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