‘We Own This City‘ is a six-part crime drama miniseries that tells about the fall of the Baltimore Police Department’s corrupt Gun Trace Task Force. It is directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green with George Pelecanos and David Simon serving as writers. The TV show would be released on HBO and their streaming service.
Sgt. Wayne Jenkins (Jon Bernthal) is the leader of Gun Trace Task Force in Baltimore, a corrupt squad of police officers who plant evidence and use their authority to get rich. He frequently works with Daniel Hersl (Josh Charles) an officer who is so corrupt that he made it in a rap song. Their schemes run afoul of FBI Agent Erika Jensen (Dagmara Domińczyk) whose team is shifting through the corruption. Meanwhile, Department of Justice Civil Rights Attorneys Nicole Steele (Wunmi Mosaku) and Ahmed Jackson (Ian Duff) are trying to convince Police Commissioner Kevin Davis (Delaney Williams) to back reform.
The miniseries is based on a nonfiction book by Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton who documented the corruption. I have not read the book so I cannot judge it as an adaptation only as a show.
In that regard, the show does have some good performances. Jon Bernthal is excellent on every level and truly captures the scumbag that these cops were alleged to be. The same goes for everyone else. I think every cast members put their best foot forward in crafting their characters.
On characters, they have way too many. We follow the corrupt officers, a handful of good ones, the FBI, the DOJ, prosecutors, random Baltimore citizens, professors, judges, celebrities, and everything in between. They should have kept it tighter. Personally, the DOJ characters could have been completely eliminated. They added nothing to the plot other than to whine about the Civil Right Division.
Now, the series takes place prior within 2016-2017 with flashbacks to other points in Jenkins’ career. Since a part of the story is the aftermath of the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, I went in expecting a political story. The showrunners do not let down in that regard. We get all of the typical woke and politically corrupt nonsense that you would expect. It is given with all of the forethought of a high school smarty pants.
Sure, the police officers are on full display and they show the corruption of the Baltimore PD. To be fair, they do show good cops, but that is not the issue. While happily parading the corruption within Baltimore PD, they wave the banner of the FBI and DOJ like they have never had a scandal. That is such malarkey. The feds have shown themselves to possess the same level, if not more so, of corruption, even during this time period of 2015 to 2016. They also all but ignored the corruption that State Attorney Marilyn Mosby was accused of later on and while they glossed over city politicians’ corruption, it was more of an afterthought than a key to the plot.
The show played favorites with who they called corrupt, ironically. It was disingenuous and had they just focused on the takedown of these scumbags, I think We Own This City would have been better.
Check out the trailer below:
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong foul language, Violence, Rude humor, Distressing events
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