The Wire creator David Simon is finally coming back with a new show, his first since Treme wrapped up in 2013, and since it’s a David Simon project it has some familiar elements: As with each of those series, Show Me a Hero will follow one American city while showing the difficulty of enacting top-to-bottom change in the face of entrenched bureaucracies and institutionalized racism. In this case, that city is Yonkers, New York in the late ’80s and the man who has the chutzpah to really try to make a difference (by building low-income housing in white neighborhoods) is 28-year-old Mayor Nick Wasicsko, the youngest mayor in America, who will be played by a mustachioed Oscar Isaac.
But Show Me a Hero also differs from The Wire and Treme in a few key ways. For one, it’s all a true story: Show Me a Hero is based on Lisa Belkin’s nonfiction book of the same name. It’s also a miniseries, rather than a series. And, in the mold of True Detective’s successful first season, all six parts will be directed by the same director: In this case, Paul Haggis (Crash), who knows a thing or two about helming a complex, interlocking narrative.
Because it’s a true story, we know how it’s going to end, and the title, which references F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous phrase (“Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy”), isn’t trying to hide that. (Spoiler alert: Racism is oddly persistent, which also seems like an appropriate message for our #blacklivesmatter moment.) But with Simon, the surprises aren’t really the point. Add in this cast—which includes not just Isaac and his moustache but Catherine Keener, Alfred Molina, Winona Ryder, Bob Balaban, and The Wire’s Clarke Peters—and you can be sure I’ll be tuning in on August 16.