A period crime piece Mob City focuses on the . gangster scene post World War II. If one was to compare it to past TV series one might say it was a west coast,mostly fictional, new take on The Untochables. In reality it seemed to use the 80's Michael Mann produced "Crime Story" series as a rough template. So, with two excellent past TV series jumping off points what went wrong?
First, the 40's are Kodachrome to the sixties Technicolor. Though this series depicted excellent period ambience it's a period many simply find less interesting to begin with. Actually not this viewer as I loved the locales, the wardrobes, the cars, and the ambience. It was well crafted in appearance. Then there's the cast, Mod City's cast was solid, even surprising in a good way with Simon Peg as small time comedian Hecky Nash. Ed Burns, rarely if ever seen on TV, was a real feather in the producer's cap as Benny "Bugsy" Siegel. The best, however, was the casting of Robert Knepper as Sid Rothman a muscle man for Siegel and Mickey Cohen. Knepper is truly perfect for the role and steals most of his scenes effortlessly. Perhaps, if there's a problem,, the casting of central protagonist police detective Joe Teague might have been somewhat of a letdown. Not that Jon Bernthal isn't good as Joe Teague, but compared to Crime Story's utterly fantastic introduction of Dennis Farina as detectective Mike Torello, Bernthal just can't invest the audience likewise. Perhaps, it's meant to be, but one really can't love his character in the way a central figure can carry a show.
All the above said, Mob City is still a show this viewer liked enough to watch with hopes it was going to find it's footing. Surely the . mob in the forties and fifties could provide ample fodder. With only 6 episodes being aired before the axe fell it has lost some of the heady steam of the first two installments. Even so, the show held great promise it would get it's grove back and it is with regret we'll never have that pleasure. Definitely worth revisiting the six episodes out there with the hopes that the ones already in the can but not televised will surface.