ABC is opening The Gates, handing a 13-episode order to a crime drama set in a gated suburban community.

Written by Richard Hatem and Grant Scharbo, Gates centers on a big-city cop who becomes chief of police in a seemingly sleepy planned community only to discover there's much more to the residents than meets the eye.

Fox TV Studios will produce the series under its international co-production model; the green light is contingent on the production company securing foreign financing.

Production on the series is slated to begin in early to mid-2010, with South America among the locations considered for the shoot.

In the initial stage of its international co-production model, Fox TV Studios shot three 13-episode series -- Defying Gravity, Persons Unknown and Mental -- with international partners and sold them in the U.S. to ABC, NBC and Fox, respectively.

In Phase 2, which started with the Matt Nix-penned drama Jack and Dan that landed at Fox with a 13-episode pickup, the projects are set up at U.S. broadcast outlets early in the development process so networks can have creative input.