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Mob City Fox UK Premiere

Cops vs Gangsters, dead-end streets, femme fatales and double crossing; welcome to Los Angeles 1947, where there are no good guys and the city’s shadows are filled with criminal networks. That’s the tone of Mob City, a new crime noir mini-series which first aired in December on TNT. Now FOX UK has bought the rights to air the full season starting from Friday 17th January at 10pm.

Mob City, based on the factual book ‘L.A Noir’ by John Buntin, is about the decades-long battle between Los Angeles Police Chief William Parker and mob figures Mickey Cohen and Bugsy Siegel.

In true noir fashion the show’s pilot opens with a gritty monologue: “White hats. Black hats. That’s what they always wore so we could tell the good guys from the bad guys. Guys like me have to make do somewhere in the middle … I live in a world of grey hats.” These words are spoken by war veteran turned LAPD officer, Joe Teague (Jon Bernthal), who receives a tip-off from a shady black suited man with white shoes, to meet Hecky Nash (Simon Pegg) a third rate comedian in Bunny’s Jungle Club. Nash bribes Teague to protect him in a blackmail exchange with the LA mob; however, this is noir, so as you’d expect things go from bad to worse as no one is who they seem.

Sticking to a linear plot for the pilot, we are not introduced to too many cast members of the series which boasts an impressive line up of stars, such as Ed Burns, Jeremy Luke, Alexa Davalos, Robert Knepper, Milo Ventimiglia and Neal McDonough.

The show’s developer, Frank Darabont – director of Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile – makes his long-awaited comeback to television after he was unceremoniously sacked in July 2011 from The Walking Dead in controversial circumstances over conflicts with AMC; but Darabont has insisted The Walking Dead is behind him now, and recently spoke about Mob City and what he thought on blending fiction with facts: “You should always be on a hunt for a good story . . . I never wanted to be straitjacketed by actual facts; I wanted to tell the most entertaining story I possibly could.”

From the first episode you can certainly see the true love Darabont has for classic 1940’s noir, using long, deep shadows, smoke-filled bars, jazz music and little exposition to heighten suspense and atmosphere. Mob City is fresh and unique, giving insight into police corruption and criminal syndicates and, most importantly, as some were worried, it’s a show far from being a straight up Boardwalk Empire clone.

If you love James Ellroy, Raymond Chandler or James M Cain, you’ll love Mob City – be sure to check the trailer out below.