Friday, March 20, 2015

Season One Shows: Gang Related

Welcome back readers and we are off to Day 4 of Season One Shows. To detract from our usual steady diet of sci-fi and moderately interesting dramas, how about we go full on into a cop drama dealing with gang activity? Yes, the warm environment of Gang Task Force... where you can find a kid in a dumpster... with his throat slit... or more holes in him than a politician's promises. With such a gritty take on the ends and outs of gang life we better have a gruff kid from the streets all grown up to lead us into the stories. This is Gang Related.

Fine, no one likes my coffee. I get it.

Surprisingly enough this is shot in L.A. As we explore the professional and personal lives of the members of Gang Task Force we find they will go head to head with the most notorious of street scum bringing them down and downtown for booking. Yeah, sorry if I went a bit Dragnet on you there. Let's look at the cast, shall we?

Our main protagonist is Detective Ryan Lopez (Ramon Rodriguez of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Bella, Day Break, The Wire, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and Battle Los Angeles)... we know this because we get an intro narrative that he is this man and this is his story. Apparently raised by another family after his parents died and watched over by the Los Angelicos gang, our young man trained in several martial arts, fluent in multiple dialects and sciences until a bat came crashing in his window and he... oh crap that's Bruce Wayne. Ahem, Ryan became a cop and works undercover to protect his adopted family of Colombian gang/syndicate  but that bat story was working. With gang ties and being police he walks the tightrope between both worlds.

Sorry, there's a bee circling my head.

Leading this collection of hard asses is Sam Chapel (Terry O' Quinn of The Stepfather, Black Widow, The Rocketeer, The X-Files, Millennium, JAG, Alias, Lost and Hawaii Five-0)
veteran cop that may bend the rules to get justice, his daughter ADA (Assistant District Attorney)Jessica Chapel (Shantel VanSanten of The Open Door, Remembrance, In My Pocket, One Tree Hill, Something Wicked and The Messengers) and Ryan's girlfriend... akward...
DEA agent Cassius Green (RZA of Wu-Tang, Be Cool, The Box, American Gangster, Repo Men, The Next Three Days and G.I. Joe: Retaliation) now Ryan's partner. FBI agent Tae Kim (Sung Kang of Mystery Men, Forbidden Warrior, Live Free or Die Hard, War, Fast & Furious, Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6) and his ICE partner Veronica Dotsen (Inbar Lavi of Crash, Street Kings 2: Motor City, Getting That Girl, For the Love of Money, Underemployed and The Last Ship)

Working with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) this multi-departmental task force has a lot of resources, boots on the pavement and hard hitting go-getters for the job. Not sure why we can properly fund our actual agencies as well as the fictitious ones but I move on. With each episode developed we learn about every member of the task force and the reasons behind why they are there. In short, we have a lot of broken people that this is the only way of mending... aside from that whole vigilante idea but again must let it go. Ryan's story is a bit darker as he is playing double agent for his gang's leader Javier Acosta (Cliff Curtis of Virus, Six Days Seven Nights, Three Kings, Bringing Out the Dead, Blow, Live Free or Die Hard and Last Knights) who engineered the idea in the first place placing the young man he considers a son in mortal danger for more than a decade. What is to become of Ryan? Whose side is he truly on?

A quick sum-up of the series now. The writing is sound, the characters are flushed out and the cinematography alone was excellent. This is very much a character driven series with back stories that are dark and some provide hope. Created by writer/producer Chris Morgan (Cellular, Wanted, Fast & Furious, Fast Five and 47 Ronin) you get a feel that The Wire was a real impact to this writing but with the added bonus that we are intrigued by the character either side of the fence. 

 Sadly this was place in FOX rather than HBO or Showtime to give the streets the vulgarity and violence level needed to carry the show. So blown away by Cliff Curtis' charisma as the gang leader that you can easily see why he calls the shots. Terry O' Quinn does not disappoint either. The downside is the criminals are being revered as rebel outlaws similar to Robin Hood and does not provide the proper scope showing that deep down they flaunt the law and kill anyone that doesn't agree with that outlook on life. Still it gives as good as The Departed and The Shield did and was deemed unworthy of another season, let alone a continuation? What utter crap, Fox.

Actually you are unlucky my chick's here.  Black Widow Style.