The book by Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton, WE OWN THIS CITY charts the demise of Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force, as well as the moral decay of an American city that favored drug prohibition and mass arrest over legitimate police work.
This is a Positive Thing
Unlike The Wire, We Own This City is incredibly addictive. The creators have an amazing ability to combine multiple stories into one. This show made me realize how much I missed this world. While watching, I kept checking the episode’s timer, fearing it would stop soon. We Own This City is a terrible, instructive, and funny story about Baltimore’s neglect and destruction. I enjoy how we get to see the different officers’ tales and how everything went wrong.
While actors like Jamie Hector, Darrell Britt-Gibson, and Tray Chaney return to the same Baltimore neighborhoods, they play completely different personas. Wunmi Mosaku, Josh Charles, Jamie Hector, and Jon Bernthal all make appearances. In the first episode, Jon Bernthal plays a cop who suffers abusive nightmares. Without saying a word, we learn Sgt. Wayne Jenkins’ personality and the show’s overall tone.
Reinaldo Marcus Green appears to be a master at ensemble storytelling. The Wire excels at creating memorable people with intertwined plots. We Own This City mixes fresh characters with old stories. These personalities and their stories are interspersed throughout the program in unexpected ways. We know Daniel Hersl’s story will circle back to Nicole Steels and maybe Sgt Wayne Jenkins, but not how or when.
This is a Bad Thing
When the show jumps back and forth between different points in the tale, we can become a little disoriented. The costumes worn by Jon Bernthal’s characters assist in identifying when these events take place, yet they are unsettling. There are moments when the show teases that Sgt. Wayne Jenkin will be the main focus of an episode, but then it pulls back and introduces the rest of the group to the audience. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is difficult to watch this show in one-hour segments when you only have one hour to spare.
I genuinely enjoy We Own This City and am excited about the prospect of returning to Baltimore with the writers and producers of The Wire. The Wire’s trademark style of cinematography, which was almost documentary in nature, is perfectly captured in this broadcast. The images, the cast, and the music are all fantastic. Jamie Hector’s role as a police officer is still a foreign concept to me, and I’m not sure if she chose to play this role on purpose. The twists for fans of The Wire are sprinkled throughout the episode, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Better Call Saul fans must be feeling something similar to this.