Having launched his career on television, screenwriter and director Stephen Gaghan wrestled with his personal demons to emerge as the Oscar-winning writer of the acclaimed sociopolitical crime epic, "Traffic" (2000). Before that, Gaghan had risen up the ranks as a staff writer on popular shows like "New York Undercover" (Fox, 1994-98), "NYPD Blue" (ABC, 1993-2005) and "The Practice" (ABC, 1997-2004), only to hit rock bottom with his heroin and crack addictions, which forced him to finally reach out and seek recovery. When he did, Gaghan shifted gears to features, starting with the military courtroom thriller "Rules of Engagement" (2000), before working with director Steven Soderbergh on the sprawling "Traffic," which became a critical darling and box office hit. From there, he became much in demand as a script doctor on numerous studio films while continuing to move on his own projects. Gaghan sat down in the director's chair for the first time with the little-known teen thriller "Abandon" (2002) before earning the dubious distinction of being credited as one of the screenwriters on "The Alamo" (2004), one of the biggest box office flops of all time. But he redeemed himself with his second directing effort, "Syriana" (2005), in which he again took a complex sociopolitical issue - Middle Eastern oil - and turned it into a complex, but personal drama that earned both critical praise and box office success. Gaghan's ability to weave labyrinth interlocking stories into highly-relatable entertainment made him one of the most sought-after and highly praised screenwriters of his day.