Sunday, March 07, 2021

Another Run at Charm City

Deadline brings news that police reporter-turned-TV writer David Simon is returning to the city that first gave him fame on the small screen: Baltimore, Maryland, the setting for his 1993-1999 NBC series, Homicide: Life on the Street, as well as his 2002-2008 HBO show, The Wire. Together with author George Pelecanos, who served as a producer of that latter program, Simon is launching We Own This City, a limited-run series based on the new non-fiction book, We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops and Corruption, by investigative journalist Justin Fenton (Random House).

As Deadline explains it,
We Own the City is set in Baltimore 2015. Riots are erupting across the city as citizens demand justice for Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man who has died under suspicious circumstances while in police custody. Drug and violent crime are surging, and the city is reaching its highest murder count in more than two decades: 342 homicides in a single year, in a city of just 600,000 people. Facing pressure from the mayor’s office—as well as a federal investigation of the department over Gray’s death—Baltimore police commanders turn to a rank-and-file hero, Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, and his elite plainclothes unit, the Gun Trace Task Force, to help get guns and drugs off the street.

However, behind these new efforts, a criminal conspiracy of unprecedented scale was unfolding within the police department. Entrusted with fixing the city’s drug and gun crisis, Jenkins chose to exploit it instead. With other members of the empowered Gun Trace Task Force, Jenkins stole from Baltimore’s citizens—skimming from drug busts, pocketing thousands in cash found in private homes, and planting fake evidence to throw Internal Affairs off their scent. Their brazen crime spree would go unchecked for years. The result was countless wrongful convictions, the death of an innocent civilian, and the mysterious death of one cop who was shot in the head, killed just a day before he was scheduled to testify against the unit.
We Own This City has reportedly already received a greenlight from HBO, but there’s no word yet on a production schedule.

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