Let’s start with a step forward. The premise. Like I said, Gang Related has an intriguing concept that had me excited to check it out. The story focuses around Ryan Lopez who is an up and coming officer in the LAPD who is apart of their elite Gang Task Force. Sounds like a common story arch, right? However little does the LAPD know that before Ryan became a cop, he pledged allegiance to a different band of brothers, the powerful Latino gang called Los Angelicos. Masterminded by the gang’s head honcho, Javier Acosta, Ryan is put in this position in order to be the eyes and ears for the Los Angelicos. While he is loyal to his gang, Ryan starts to realize that he is enjoying the cop life and bringing thugs to justice. The plot thickens… So a gang member with a hardcore Latino gang who is a mole inside an elite task force in the LAPD who is facing the dilemma of right and wrong and where his loyalties lie? Cool! I’m on board!
Now two steps back. The script. Full discolosure. I hate dialogue in shows and movies that serve no purpose. It always feels as though the writers needed something to fill in a gap in a scene. It’s ok in spells, but I need for the story to move forward. To answer the question, “now what?’. I don’t want my time to be wasted with nonsense. Unfortunately, we get that with this show. For instance in the pilot episode after a cool car chase sequence, that excitement we felt was negated by the writing. Upon catching the perp, one cop says to the other cop,” Was it good for you too?’ The other cop replies,” Now you’re just making it weird.” Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. And it doesn’t stop there. One particular character has the WORST dialogue EVER and it sticks out like a sore thumb. C’mon son! Granted this is just my opinion, but if you watch the show you will see what I am talking about.
Step forward. Action. This show does it well. All of the action sequences are tense and exciting. The camera work is excellent and the action sequences are without music which I think is really cool. All you hear are the cops breathing and the sound of their footsteps as they get ready to execute their assault on the bad guys. As the audience, you feel as though you are there with them and it’s awesome.
Two steps back. Acting. The show centers around Ryan Lopez played by Ramon Rodriguez actually does well here. He seems grounded and doesn’t seem to force anything on the audience. But it stops with him. Sam Chapel, who is the chief of the task force played by Terry O’Quinn, is an absolute bore. All of his dialogue is uninteresting and he seems to be asleep when he speaks. He also doesn’t feel right in this role to begin with. So I don’t place all the blame on you Terry. Cassius Green, a cop who becomes Ryan’s partner, is played by rapper RZA. Holy moley is this guy bad. His character is such a stereotype and totally ruins every scene that he is in. He doesn’t look the part at all and his portrayal and delivery is so annoying that you will want to scream. FOX is this really the best you could find?? I could go on with other characters, but talking about RZA’s acting has gotten me so frazzled that I need to wrap this up before I throw my computer.
All in all Gang Related falls short of what it can actually be. The concept is interesting but the execution isn’t there. If you are going to call yourself a cop drama, you have to have good acting, good dialogue that moves the story, and exciting action. One for three can’t cut it. This ain’t baseball. Gang Related needs to fix things fast or else it’s bye-bye. I have an idea FOX. Kill off RZA’s character. That will DEFINITELY help your cause.