Crime drama is one of my favorite genres and some of the best crime shows such as THE SOPRANOS, BREAKING BAD, NARCOS, THE WIRE, OZARK and TRUE DETECTIVE have gotten several accolades throughout the years. But one show that I believe deserves more attention is SNOWFALL. Co-created by the late John Singleton, it’s about the early days of crack cocaine epidemic in the early 80s here in the States.
The show has three storylines, one is about a young man who lives in the ghetto part of Los Angeles, and the second is about a young CIA agent who wants to make a difference and climb up the ladder in the espionage world. Lastly, two cousins who belong to the drug cartel family want to expand the family’s business to the modern world with the help of an ex-wrestler. As the season progresses these characters will of course run into one another.
I’m not going to go into details on any of the plots so as to not ruin anyone’s enjoyment should you decide to watch it. I’m just going to go over what worked in the show and what needs to improve to get me to keep watching.
One of the things I really like about the show is the writing and direction. The first couple of episodes were a bit too clichéd, but as the season progresses, things got much more interesting and I couldn’t wait for the next episode to air. Looking at the behind the scene credits, it seems the show has a pretty good diverse group of female and male writers and directors. I think that really helps the show’s storyline and keeps it interesting; instead of having one or two writers working on the entire season, different writers can help expand the character’s arc and keeps the story fresh.
The performances by the lead actors were pretty great. Damson Idris plays Franklin, the young man who lives in the ghetto of LA. He wants to have a better life but knows he can’t escape the hood trying to live an honest life. Being that he’s black and from a poor neighborhood, he knows he doesn’t have a lot of choices to become successful in this world. Even though his mom Cissy (Michael Hyatt) is trying to set an example of how to live by the rules, she struggles every day. When an opportunity to make some extra cash by selling drugs for a Russian mobster named Avi (Alon Aboutboul), Franklin jumped at the chance. Idris commands every scene he’s in and I hope he gets more opportunities as a leading man once he’s done with this show.
The other performance that really impressed me was Carter Hudson’s Teddy McDonald, the CIA agent who basically orchestrated the whole crack epidemic. His determination to climb up the ladder in the CIA left him with no family or friends, the only thing that mattered to him is the job. The supporting cast is also pretty good. Hyatt’s Cissy stands out the most because she’s trying to live an honest life and for her son Franklin to be successful. Her character is kind of cliché, but Hyatt’s performance really made it work for me.
Unfortunately, the characters of the third storyline cousins Lucia (Emily Rios) and Pedro (Filipe Valle Costa) were underwritten and their performances are pretty weak. So, when they’re on the screen, I pretty much don’t really care about what’s happening to them. The only interesting person in their storyline is Gustavo (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), an ex-wrestler who became Lucia’s muscleman and later her lover.
Another thing that I think the show needs to do is present some kind of strong antagonists for the leads. For the first two seasons, they were some “villains” that our lead characters had to deal with, but those characters weren’t in the storyline that long and they were dealt with quite easily.
The show is currently in its fifth season and the original writer/producer Dave Andron is still attached as its showrunner. If you’re a fan of crime dramas, this is a must-watch.
Have you seen SNOWFALL series? What did you think?