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‘We Own This City’ is a Thoughtful Masterpiece – Black Girl Nerds


‘We Own This City’ is a Thoughtful Masterpiece – Black Girl Nerds

What masterful filmmaking.

Here is an accomplishment of television helmed, yet again, by David Simon and George Pelecanos. If David Simon stays talking crap on Twitter, well, that’s because he deserves to.

The new project by Simon and Pelecanos — alumnae from the critically-lauded HBO series The Wireexplores the life of Wayne Jenkins, a Baltimore police officer whose Gun Trace Task Force was charged with crimes ranging from tax evasion to out-and-out battery and assault of Baltimore’s citizens.

The series’ frame narrative is largely a federal investigation into the task force by Special Agents Erika Jenson (Dagmara Domińczyk) and John Sieracki (Don Harvey). They have been tipped off to the unit’s activities based on an unrelated investigation into fentanyl overdoses and the product’s source. In a fashion, we’ve come to expect of Simon, a former police beat reporter for the Baltimore Sun, and Pelecanos, an author of detective fiction, the story then follows all the twists and turns inherent to thorough investigation. 

Besides this, the story, which spans from 2003 to 2017, but mostly takes place between 2015 and 2017, follows Nicole Steele (Wunmi Mosaku), an Office for Civil Rights (OCR) lawyer, as she investigates police brutality and efficacy in a world “after Freddie Gray.” 

In addition, the series devotes much screen time to Jenkins (Jon Bernthal), the prime antagonist of the show, and how he became so corrupt. Though, in this show, “antagonist” feels almost too melodramatic a description.

Don’t get me wrong: Wayne Jenkins is the Devil. Yet the show refuses to lay the blame squarely on individuals. If anything, the series’ partial thesis statement may be that actions undertaken by officers like Jenkins are the logical conclusion to what their departments ask of them. 

Wanna make money? Make arrests. No good arrests? Get bad ones. There’s a harassment complaint? We’ll have your back. The show indicts institutions far more than persons.

Jamie Hector) can’t find witnesses to a case because no one wants to talk to the…

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