‘We Own This City’ Explores Where Policing Is Going Wrong in the Drug War

We Own This City Jon Bernthal
Paul Schiraldi/HBO

Fourteen years after the conclusion of The Wire — the seminal Baltimore drama about drugs, racism and police corruption — exec producers David Simon and George Pelecanos return to the scene of the crimes with a new limited series, We Own This City.

“On the surface, this is about the [rise and fall] of the Baltimore Gun Trace Task Force,” Pelecanos says of the series, based on local reporter Justin Fenton’s nonfiction book. “But David and I saw it as a way to talk about policing in general and where it’s going wrong with regard to the drug war. The story and the players are real.”

We Own This City Jamie Hector

(Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

Led by superstar sergeant Wayne Jenkins (a riveting Jon Bernthal), the GTTF was commended for its arrest and gun retrieval numbers. At the same time, its members shook down civilians, robbed cash and narcotics from dealers, and sold some of the confiscated drugs and arms.

“Guys with checkered histories, ready-made to be corrupt,” filled the unit, the EP says — like Officers Daniel Hersl (Josh Charles), whose brutality on the streets was overlooked by higher-ups, and “G Money” Gondo (McKinley Belcher III), who shielded a drug kingpin.

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Jon Bernthal, Rob Brown, and more star in this drama from 'The Wire's David Simon and George Pelecanos.

Among the good guys: homicide cop Shaun Suiter (Wire alum Jamie Hector) and U.S. Justice Department civil rights investigator Nicole Steele (Wunmi Mosaku), City’s conscience, who tries to understand how the GTTF flourished. Notes Pelecanos: “They were getting commendations up to a week before they all got arrested.”

We Own This City, Series Premiere, Monday, April 25, 9/8c, HBO