Betrayers in Blue
Newsweek|May 06, 2022
HBO's We Own This City tells the true story of the crooked cops who preyed on Baltimore for years
By Roxy Simons

To protect and serve? (From left) Actors Rob Brown, Ham Mukasa, Robert Harley and Jon Bernthal as members of Baltimore's Gun Trace Task Force.

TELEVISION

In the decade it was active, the Baltimore Police Department's Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) did a lot of damage. The plain-clothes unit was marred by corruption and in 2017, after a two-year federal investigation, Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, the GTTF's leader, and seven other members, were arrested and charged with racketeering. All eight were subsequently convicted.

The investigation revealed the cops had stolen money, planted evidence, and even re-sold drugs on the streets, all in the name of reducing the murder rate in the city. Their actions are the subject of HBO's 6-episode limited series We Own This City, which premiered Monday, April 25.

Developed and written by The Wire's David Simon and George Pelecanos, and directed by King Richard's Reinaldo Marcus Green, the show explores Jenkins' early career and how he and the GTTF became corrupt cops. Jenkins is played by The Punisher's Jon Bernthal. The show is based on the book We Own This City by Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton.

Pelecanos says he felt the show was a natural successor to The Wire and he wanted to make it with Simon and The Wire producer Nina Noble because they could round up some of The Wire writers as a karmic thing and get the band back together and go back to Baltimore and make a coda to The Wire 20 years later.

The co-creators did this not only by bringing back The Wire's writing team but also actors Jamie Hector and Darrell Britt-Gibson, who played Marlo Stanfield and Darius O-Dog Hill on the iconic show.

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Betrayers in Blue

HBO's We Own This City tells the true story of the crooked cops who preyed on Baltimore for years

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May 06, 2022