FOX, Thursdays 9/8 Central
May 22, 2014
"Brown is the new black," states Javier Acosta (Cliff Curtis), the head of the gang Los Angelicos. Police officer Ryan Lopez (Ramon Rodriguez) grew up in Los Angelicos, where Javier "adopted" him. On Acosta's orders, Ryan joined the army and then the Los Angeles Police Department, working for Los Angelicos on the inside as part of a gang task force. Right off, Ryan's partner is shot and killed by Javier's son, the cold-blooded Carlos (Rey Gallegos). This incident puts Captain Sam Chapel (Terry O'Quinn) into overdrive, aiming to hit the gangs where it will hurt the most: their families. Now partnered with Cassius Green (RZA), Ryan has to try even harder to keep his two lives from overlapping as he increasingly feels more a part of the LAPD than Los Angelicos.
Gang Related has the necessary brutality of mob shows—albeit within the limits of broadcast networks—but it doesn't have the grittiness or the complicated character development that is their signature. Rodriguez is the one cast in the complex role, but it's RZA who is stealing every scene. Serious yet humorous, he rides that balance with aplomb. Every so often, other members of the force have their eye-popping moments, but those are few and far between. O'Quinn doesn't have nearly the command he did on Lost, even if he is in charge. Any scenes with the gang members' families are just plain cringe-worthy. But coming from TheFast and the Furious and The Shield camp, there's a very slight hope that Gang Related might improve. (www.fox.com/gang-related)
Author rating: 4/10
Average reader rating: 7/10