×

‘Unsolved’ Stars Point Out Racial Injustice in Biggie and Tupac Murder Cases

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.

More TV

  • Liza Koshy Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards

    How Nickelodeon Capitalizes on Social Media to Stay on Top of Kids' Campaigns

    When Nickelodeon’s green slime first oozed its way over talent’s heads 40 years ago on the acquisition Canadian series “You Can’t Do That on Television,” there was no way of knowing the stuff would transcend series and generations of children — let alone launch a festival. But green goop was just the beginning of the [...]

  • Grime Star Stormzy Joins Upcoming BBC

    Grime Star Stormzy Joins Roc Nation Exec Produced BBC Drama ‘Noughts & Crosses’

    “Noughts and Crosses” just added another musical heavy hitter with grime supremo Stormzy set to star in the adaptation of the Malorie Blackman novels for the BBC. Jay-Z’s Roc Nation is already on board and will exec produce, as will Participant Media. Stormzy has an on-screen role and will play Kolawale, a newspaper editor and [...]

  • Cineflix Alum Launches New Banner Fugitive,

    Cineflix Alum Launches New Banner Fugitive, Tees Up Alex Gibney, Yolanda Ramke Shows

    Anthony Kimble, formerly of Cineflix, National Geographic, and Viacom’s Channel 5, has launched Fugitive and will develop, finance, and exec produce drama and unscripted TV through the new banner. Its first projects include “Uncanny Valley: The Truth About Thinking Machines,” which comes from producers Topic and Jigsaw. A series about A.I. and the future of [...]

  • Cineflix Rights Scoops Icelandic Political Series

    Cineflix Rights Scoops Icelandic Political Series 'The Minister'

    Cineflix Rights, a leading U.K. content distributor, has acquired “The Minister,” the anticipated political drama series headlined by Icelandic star Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”). Produced by the Icelandic company Sagafilm, “The Minister” centres on Benedikt Ríkhardsson (Ólafsson), a populist politician who becomes Iceland’s Prime Minister. However, Benedikt is suffering from [...]

  • WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make

    WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make Deals if Agents are Fired

    The Writers Guild of America has authorized managers and lawyers to negotiate deals for writers in place of agents — if the guild tells members to fire their agents on April 7. The guild’s negotiating committee notified members of the plans in a message Wednesday. The WGA and the Association of Talent Agents having made [...]

  • Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna'Jane

    Rachel Bloom on the 'Beautiful Mystery' of the 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Series Finale

    While four seasons of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” have explored musical genres from boy bands to country, the one type of music series co-creator and star Rachel Bloom admits the show will not explore before the end is Rebecca’s own style. “Basically the idea is that part of the music in her mind is her looking inside [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content