WE OWN THIS CITY
Starring: Jon Bernthal, Wunmi Mosaku, Jamie Hector, Josh Charles, McKinley Belcher III, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Rob Brown, David Corenswet, Dagmara Dominczyk, Don Harvey, Delaney Williams, and Larry Mitchell
Creators: David Simon and George Pelecanos
We Own This City focuses on the true story of corruption within the Baltimore Gun Trace Task Force and the despicable acts those officers did, but spreads its story between too many points in time. The timeline jumping at breakneck speed makes things confusing and especially difficult to keep track of the abundance of characters followed. That said, the writing is crisp and the cast, headlined by the ball of energy that is Jon Bernthal, makes for an engaging watch. This series tells an important story and is a stark reminder that a few good cops can’t overcome a broken system.
We Own This City is a special and rare kind of miniseries from the HBO catalog. It can be fairly dense upfront if one is unfamiliar with all the major players, but it never treats the audience as though their hands need to be held. The aftermath of the Freddie Gray killing was its own kind of mess, and the show never once loses focus within all the chaos. Jon Bernthal is expectedly excellent in the show, but it’s Wunmi Mosaku and Jamie Hector who steal the spotlight, while McKinley Belcher III makes a strong case for Emmy consideration.
While I’m sure fans of The Wire (*cough* not me *cough*) are wetting themselves at another offering from David Simon, We Own This City is a miniseries that gets in its own way by trying to be too much like The Wire. It has the same “problem-from-all-perspectives” approach as that critical darling, but the inconsistent flashbacks make it somewhat confusing to follow. Plus, not all the storylines have the same level of intrigue (the Civil Rights Division plot is especially needless), while the ending is very abrupt. Despite good performances, I just didn’t need this show in my life, but you Simon-lovers probably don’t care about that.