MOB CITY

Whatever led to Frank Darabont’s being fired off THE WALKING DEAD, his talent is all over this 6-part mini-series on TNT. At first, a retelling of the Busgy Siegel-Mickey Cohen connection in corrupt 1940’s Los Angeles may seem like retrodden old ground — one more homage to film noir. But visually, Darabont and Guy Ferland (who directed two of the episodes) and their creative team have added a new element: color. Most classic noirs were shot in black-and-white, an atmospherically apt choice. But the “eye mood” here is compelling in a new way. The storyline is fascinating: an attempt to solve the ongoing mystery of who murdered Siegel with a fictional backstory that ends up making perfect sense. And the casting is so good, it’s hard not to single out all the major characters. Edward Burns as Siegel, Jeremy Luke as Cohen, Jon Bernthal and Milo Ventimiglia and relative newcomer Alexa Davalos. But special attention must be given to the knockout performance by Robert Knepper as gang enforcer Sid Rothman. One scene in particular, a police interrogation during which Knepper goes on a riff about Keaton, Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy, has such bravado, I played it back four times. The six parts are fully contained, but also set up a second season, if TNT executives are feeling generous. Let’s hope they do. — Jeff Schultz

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