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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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 Himself (10 episodes, 2009-2011)
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Powerful documentary series
14 September 2012 | by (US) – See all my reviews

5 part documentary mini-series about the politics of Newark, NJ over the course of 2008, culminating in the night of Obama's election.

The 'star' is Newark's absurdly charismatic mayor Corey Booker, whom the series paints as a man truly on a mission to help his city, without turning him into a one-note saint.

Yet, by following several story lines – a young, poor woman trying to get her life together as she's moves away from drugs and gangs and tries to become a force for good despite awful obstacles, the Director of the police department who seems very effective, but is fought and resented within the department for coming from New York, and taking power from the existing Chief of Police, and several other well chosen characters, we really get a mosaic of a modern city and it's terrible problems.

It has been called a real-life version of 'The Wire' ad nauseum, but that is good description.

There are arguable flaws. It can feel a bit one sided, or at least myopic at times. Since we only follow one character in a given situation, it's hard to know what the other side's point of view is. (For example, we so rarely see the Police Director's rival - the Chief- we barely know what he looks like, much less whether he has any validity in his complaints.

But I was willing to accept that as part of the nature of the film. It's not meant to be 'fair and balanced', it's a study of a handful of individuals and their experiences, a group of character studies of people trying to change their city, not objective reporting.


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