TV Goodness Reports: The Characters of TNT’s Mob City [PHOTOS/VIDEO/INTERVIEWS]
TNT’s Mob City makes its much-anticipated debut tonight. The epic three-week television event kicks off with two episodes that really help paint the picture of a 1940s Los Angeles and the ultimate fight between the good guys and the mobsters. Frank Darabont [The Walking Dead] is on hand as executive producer. He also wrote and directed the first episode that airs tonight.
Synopsis for Episode 1 “A Guy Walks Into a Bar…”: Hecky Nash bribes police detective Joe Teague to protect him during a dangerous blackmail scheme involving the Los Angeles mob. Seeing this a a perfect opportunity to bring down one of the city’s most infamous mobsters, the Los Angeles police force looks to Teague for key information in hopes of crippling the heart of L.A.’s organized crime.
Synopsis for Episode 2 “Reason to Kill a Man”: Hal Morrison and Captain William Parker interrogate Jasmine in a desperate attempt to gain insight into Hecky Nash’s blackmail scheme. Keeping a close eye on Jasmine, Joe discovers she’s hiding a secret that could cost her her life. Meanwhile Sid and Terry get a tip that leads to a violent display of revenge.
TV Goodness recently talked to members of the Mob City cast. Get to know what they think about their characters, the fashion, the look of the series and more.
Neal McDonough is Captain William Parker
Character Description: Straight as an arrow, canny and incorruptible, William Parker became a captain in the LAPD at age 42, and he just might be on track to be Chief of Police someday. Parker is committed to rooting out corruption in the police department as he is to bringing down the mob.
On Playing the good guy for a change
Neal McDonough:Â For Frank [Darabont] and Michael Wright to have the wherewithal to say, okay, we’re going to have Neal McDonough play the ultimate good guy on the show and we’re gonna get Ed Burns, who everyone loves as the good guy, to play the villain on the show. What other network does that? Seriously? I mean that’s just phenomenal casting.Â For TNT to really make something different and awesome and have so much eye candy and drama and humor and the action sequences are crazy. I’m the luckiest guy in the world to be part of this show that’s for sure.
On Getting Into Character
Neal:Â Great writing is great writing and you just rise to it. And this one, it is so well written it makes it a whole lot easier.Â For this, it’s hard to mess up for Frank [Darabont] because the words are so great. The sets look so awesome. Everyone looks so…even the bums wore suits and ties. It has such a great look to the show you just kind of fall into the character quite easily. It was so much fun.
Alexa Davalos is Jasmine Fontaine
Character Description: Jasmine, girlfriend of the shady Hecky Nash, is a photo girl at Mickey Cohen’s nightclub. She has a beauty and vulnerability that could break anyone’s heart. She also has experience far beyond her age and a past that threatens to complicate her life.
On Getting to Work with Simon Pegg [Mob City’s Hecky Nash,Â Star Trek Reboot movies, The World’s End]
Alexa Davalos:Â He’s just a gem. I still can’t get over his accent. I mean it, right? The pitch perfect period appropriate, unbelievably perfect American accent. He’s just full of surprises. There’s nothing Simon can’t do. It was a lot of fun.
Milo VentimigliaÂ (l.) is Ned Stax
Character Description: Ned Stax is a budding lawyer with a chess-player’s mind. He has all the tools to be a master “fixer” for the mob — the position for which he’s been groomed.
On how involved his character gets with the mob
Milo Ventimiglia: Ned is a guy — I’d asked Frank — just how grey is he? Because he’s the legal face of the mob but also he’s around all these meetings with killers and dark dealings and crime. And how involved or uninvolved is he? Frank is just like, he’s completely in bed with the mob. He’s completely involved with it. So I think the outward perception of Ned is an attorney and upright citizen who happens to legally represent some criminals, not known criminals but proposed criminals and keep those guys out of trouble. But really he’s involved with orchestrating every avenue of business that his bosses have.
Jeffrey DeMunn (far l.) is Hal Morrison
Character Description: Hal Morrison is a Los Angeles police detective assigned to head up the city’s new organized crime division. He is an honest, forthright man who becomes suspicious after learning Joe has been approached to assist in a blackmail scheme.
On What Surprised Him Most about Being on Mob City
Jeffrey DeMunn:Â This isn’t really surprising but I enjoyed and discovered as we went on over the weeks that the thing had legs. I discovered that the group of strangers that had come together had chemistry. And you don’t know. You don’t know about the five of us right here. Do we have chemistry and can it work? And to watch that — we were several weeks into it and I remember saying to Frank at one point, I said, you know, I want it to go on. I want to do some more seasons of it. I can feel it. We’ve got something that’s starting up here. And I’m speaking specifically now only about us in the squad room. The cops had, we had a chemistry that was going on that felt right to me. It didn’t feel forced. It didn’t feel like that we were really pretending well. We were developing our own where you learn to know who can you bump into, who do you make sure you can take care of and all those things that can happen. So it’s not really surprising but it was a good thing to have happen.
Robert Knepper is Sid Rothman
Character Description: Sid Rothman is a legendary hit man and capo. He’s also been the closest friend to Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky since childhood.
On How His Character Deals with his Hit Man Status
Robert Knepper: The stuff that I have to do, that Sid Rothman has to do to protect him, to protect the family, is stuff that is…the only way I could think of it is how people can be these kind of people is that they have to look at it as it’s a job. It’s what I have to do to secure the family to make sure the family goes on. I don’t think I ever played him like, ‘Oh I love doing all this juicy bloody stuff.’ That’s sociopathic behavior. I never really played into it. I just thought, it’s just gotta be done. Somebody’s gotta do it. And I’m gonna do it.
Ed Burns is Ben “Bugsy” Siegel
Character Description: Nicknamed “Bugsy,” the infamous Ben Siegel is an American mobster who has made a name for himself through bootlegging, gambling and ruthless assassinations. Mean-spirited yet charismatic, Siegel has an eye for the ladies and can kill a man without remorse.
On Finally Getting to Play the Villain
Ed Burns:Â For me, having never gotten to do this kind of character, gotten to play this kind of lunatic before, it was just a blast. It’s so much fun to be able to step in to those shoes. And the thing is, Frank wrote such great scripts, such a great version of Bugsy with such great dialogue that quite honestly, it was easy in a way. If you listen to Frank and do what he asks it was very easy to sort of step in and do it.
On What Helped Him Get Into Character
Ed:Â It’s the clothes, it’s the dialogue, it’s the great work of the production design team. You know you walk into the Clover Club, you walk into Mickey Cohen’s office,Â or even what they built out in the desert, The Flamingo and the construction…there’s a scene that we have…we are in downtown L.A. and it’s an exterior scene where we’re going to whack another guy. And I remember we walk out of the makeup trailer, you got the suit on, you got the Fedora, it’s the old Craftsman houses, it’s the 1940s car, the period street lamps and I’m half expecting to see Edward G. Robinson walk out of one of the houses. It was like oh wait, we’re actually getting to do one of those…this is our Bogie and Cagney moment. LIke we’re in a film noir.
Jeremy Luke (r.) is Mickey Cohen
Character Description: Mickey Cohen has been causing trouble since he was a little boy. Next-in-line after Siegel to be boss of all organized crime in Los Angeles, Mickey runs the L.A. underworld with an iron fist. A quick-to-anger hothead, Cohen has a huge obsession with cleanliness.
On Mickey Cohen
Jeremy Luke:Â The thing with Mickey was he strived to be a better person. He had a first grade/second grade education. You know, he learned how to read. He learned how to write. He went to etiquette classes, he had like word of the day. He tried to dress really well and present himself as well as an unpolished man could do that. Kind of like myself. He was definitely a different guy. I think at the end of the day people keep asking me, ‘How did you play this monster?’ And the truth of the matter is I didn’t look at him like a monster. I thought that Mickey from reading and what I saw was that he was actually a guy who you would like to hang out with. He was a fun guy. He liked meeting everybody in his club. He liked shaking everybody’s hands, taking pictures. Welcome here, being in the limelight. He enjoyed being that guy. And you know, the thing is, when you cross Mickey then you’re done.
On what separates Mob City from other gangster stories
Jeremy:Â Frank Darabont. I’ve been part of, I’m from New York so I’ve been part of a lot of mob stuff. Some of it’s good. Most of it’s sh–ty. But, you know, when you get into the specifics and somebody who really wants to tell a story and see the human side to these people that you think are monsters and really get into the storytelling aspect and get specific about what this thing is. You’ve never seen a noir television show ever. It’s like the first time. So it’s kind of like we’re making some kind of history here. I mean it’s totally it’s original. It’s like nothing anybody’s ever done before.
Some of the other characters
Jon Bernthal is Joe Teague — After serving as a Marine during World War II, Joe Teague is now a Los Angeles police detective. When he is asked to help blackmail a high-powered member of the mob, the brutal and handsome Teague finds himself caught in the moral gray zone between the city’s powerful gangsters and its corrupt law enforcement.
Gregory Itzin is Mayor Fletcher Bowron — A charismatic politician and dedicated reformer, Mayor Fletcher Bowron is intent on rooting out the bad apples in the LAPD and eliminating corruption that existed in past administrations.
Those are the cast of characters that make up TNT’s Mob City. The event series gets underway tonight at 9/8c and will air back-to-back episodes over three Wednesdays.
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