We Own This City Part 6 is the finale of an American true crime drama miniseries based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton. The miniseries was developed and written by George Pelecanos and David Simon, who had previously collaborated on The Wire and Deuce. The premise involves the rise and fall of the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) and the corruption surrounding it.
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We Own This City Part 6 is a mixed bag of a conclusion. Being a true life story, anyone could have googled the outcome of the events depicted and thus, there is no element of surprise that key players in the GTTF corruption reserved their just desserts, in a manner of speaking. However, what the series has attempted to do in this finale is to comment on the systemic nature of police corruption – not only in Baltimore but in the entire USA. But even that is inherently flawed.
Once again the non-linear storytelling in We Own This City Part 6 makes things too complicated for its own good and destroys all tension and conflict in the story being told. It has been impossible in the series to engage with most of the characters with the possible exception of the tragedy of Officer Sean Suitor – a former GTTF member who did not partake but kept silent on the corruption. Even then, his suicide at the end of the episode seems inexplicable – why would a good cop kill himself if his conscience was clear? A lost opportunity.
The message communicated in We Own This City Part 6 seems clear – nothing changes. Yes, you can get rid of all the dirty cops but closing the barn doors now is simply too late as all the crazy horses have long bolted. This would seem to be a common theme concerning the USA – a failed republic that is slowly but surely going the way of the Roman Empire.
In the final analysis, We Own This City is probably still essential viewing for the performances and scene executions – bearing our caveats about the writing overall.
Now streaming on HBO Max.
… still there’s more …