The executive producers and cast of the new USA Network series “Unsolved” talked about the show’s depiction of the Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur’s murder cases, and how racial injustice is still present today.
The 10-episode true crime anthology is shown through the point-of-view of the officers who were both passionate and disinterested about the case. At the Hollywood premiere, Jimmi Simpson, who plays detective Russell Poole, explained what excited him about the project.
“These two young black geniuses were swept under the rug just 20 years ago,” he said. “I was obsessed with little flaws in the justice system that my character noticed and became obsessively passionate about.”
These flaws are key issues that the creator and executive producers wanted to highlight in the series.
“Racial tensions still exist today as we all know,” executive producer Mark Taylor said. “They’re becoming a little more apparent, in terms of people recognizing these are not problems of the past. These are problems we’re still dealing with today.”
Simpson agreed. “I think that 20 years ago we were sweeping it under the rug, and now we have a commander-in-chief screaming racist epithets from every medium he can find,” he said. “It shows we haven’t moved far enough. It’s a call to action.” Simpson also added that he hopes viewers recognize how the United States judicial system largely affects African Americans.
Creator and executive producer Kyle Long said one of the main messages in the show is that Biggie and Tupac deserve justice. Long said, “I really hope young kids see this and they really say, ‘Oh my gosh, this guy speaks to us today.’ He really did. You watch interviews of Tupac, especially. It’s like it could be yesterday.”
“Unsolved” star Josh Duhamel said as a child, he grew up in North Dakota connecting with Biggie’s music. “After being so close to this for as long as we were, I have so much more respect for what they were able to accomplish in such a short amount of time,” Duhamel said, adding that he hopes the multiple perspectives show that there are both good and bad cops.
Marcc Rose, who undeniably resembles his character, Tupac Shakur, said he enjoyed learning that there were detectives trying to solve the case. Rose also commented on remarks in the show that referred to Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls as “just a rapper with a microphone.”
“I take offense to that as a young African American because I know that these guys are way more than that,” Rose said. “I am those guys; these guys are me.”
The “Unsolved” season premiere airs on Feb. 27.