Walking Dead creator and exiled showrunner 1.0 Frank Darabont is returning to television with Mob City and we’ve got a release date and the first trailer for the TNT event series that is based on John Buntin’s book L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City.
Colloquially known as L.A. Noir, before transitioning to the poetic Lost Angels, Mob City more bluntly describes a show that is fixated on a well-covered era in Los Angeles history (LA Confidential, Gangster Squad) during the 1940s and 1950s when the mob and the police department were locked in brutal war.
To populate both sides of that war, Darabont reached out to a few familiar faces and a few members of his own pseudo traveling company, tapping Walking Dead alumnus Jon Bernthal to play the show’s lead, Joe Teague, who is described as “an ex-Marine now working as an LAPD cop in an era rampant with police corruption.”
Joining Bernthal is Jeffrey DeMun (formerly Dale on The Walking Dead) who will play Det. Hal Morrison, Gregory Itzin, Milo Ventimiglia, Alexa Devalos, Robert Knepper, Neal McDonough (as Police Chief William Parker), Ed Burns (as Bugsy Siegel), and Jeremy Luke (as Mickey Cohen).
In addition to those big names – both the actors and the characters they are playing – the trailer also advertises an appearance by Simon Pegg, in a role that Darabont previously described as:
“A stand up comic in 1947. It’s not a funny role. It’s a serious role. He’s laying down a dramatic performance in a flawless, American dialect of the era… People who are Simon Pegg fans will be blown away by what he has done in this. I am his friend, and I’ve always known he’s a very good dramatic actor and I expected great things from him, even my expectations were knocked on my *** by how good he is. So, you have that to look forward to.”
If that cast isn’t impressive enough, there have also been rumors during the long run-up to this show’s creation, that both Thomas Jane and Being Human star Sam Witwer could pop up on the show, with Witwer saying back in March of 2012:
“I don’t think there’s any harm in saying that he wrote a part for me, but I can’t, I’m not available, can’t do it. Which is tough. I was reading script pages when he was writing it, when he was in the middle of writing it, when it wasn’t done, and I remember just being like, “Dammit, I’d really love to be involved in this but I cannot.” I cannot join the show, I have my own show. [...] I suppose yeah, there is a chance that I could show up as a guest. [...] but it comes down to: does it serve the story? Is there a part that he could come up with that needs to be in that story that he thinks I’d be good for?”
The thing is, the show conceivably needs to stick around for awhile for any future guest spots to materialize and for this large world that Darabont has meticulously built to be fully explored, but there are questions about the show’s potential for longevity. Made to be an ongoing series initially, TNT is now calling Mob City an “event series”, which makes one wonder if they are down on the project for some reason.
If that is so, and if Mob City is fated to last only 6 episodes, that would be a real shame for Darabont fans who have been waiting for this series since just after he left AMC and The Walking Dead, but on the bright side, with a trailer this rich, explosive, and visually alluring, it seems as if those fans may soon be met with something worthy of all that dedication and anticipation, even if it winds up being a short lived thrill.
Mob City premieres Wednesday December 4th on TNT