Based on the book by Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton, WE OWN THIS CITY tells the rise and fall of the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force and the corruption and moral collapse that hit a U.S. city where drug bans and mass arrest policies were fought at the expense of actual police work.
We Own This City is not a sequel to The Wire, but it is just as addictive. The creators have this wonderful way of weaving multiple stories into one amazing tale. I did not know how much I missed this world until I started watching this program. As I watched, I wanted to check how much time was left in the episode, while I was worried that it would soon end. We Own This City has a history of neglect and decay for the city of Baltimore, which is depressing, informative and entertaining. I like how we get to see individual stories about the different members of law enforcement and see from all angles how everything failed.
The cast of this show is really smart and though actors like Jamie Hector, Darrell Britt-Gibsonand Tray Chaney return to the same Baltimore streets where they play completely different characters. We will also enjoy performances from “newcomers” Wunmi Mosaku, Josh Charles, Jamie Hector and Jon Bernthal. Jon Bernthal has this really amazing opening scene at the beginning of the first episode where he just exudes the aura of an officer of violent nightmares. Without a single word we find out what kind of character Sgt. Wayne Jenkins is and we are learning the overall tone of the show going forward.
Manager Reinaldo Marcus Green really impresses with his apparent mastery of ensemble narrative. The Wire excels at introducing multiple characters with intertwined stories and making amazing characters that we love to this day. We Own This City is instantly familiar because it introduces new characters with familiar stories. These characters and their narratives are strewn throughout the episode in an understandable but unpredictable way. We know that Daniel Hersl’s story is going to circulate back to Nicole Steels and maybe merge with Sgt Wayne Jenkins, but we just do not know how or when.
The bad one
There are times when we get lost when the show jumps back and forth to different points in the story. The outfits of Jon Bernthal’s characters help identify when these moments take place, but they are disorienting. There are times when the show teases that Sgt. Wayne Jenkin will be the focus of the episode, but it withdraws instead and introduces the larger cast. This is not in itself bad, but it’s hard when you only watch this show in portions of an hour.
I really enjoy We Own This City and love the idea of visiting Baltimore again with the creators of The Wire. The show captures the almost documentary film style that was the signature of The Wire. I love the visuals, the cast and the music. I’m still trying to treat Jamie Hector as a police officer, and I wonder if it was on purpose to take on that role. The twists for fans of Wire are everywhere and I can not wait to see more. That has to be what Better Call Saul fans want.
- Actor – 9/10
- Cinematography / visual effects – 8/10
- Plot / script – 9/10
- Setting / Theme – 9/10
- Attraction – 9/10
- Reciprocity – 10/10