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We Own This City: Release Date, Cast And 4 Things We Know About Jon Bernthal’s New HBO Show

Jon Bernthal on We Own This City
(Image credit: HBO)

In June 2002, David Simon opened a door to HBO subscribers and introduced them to a side of the Baltimore that only those who live in the city knew with the landmark crime drama series, The Wire. Twenty years later, Simon, alongside longtime collaborator George Pelecanos, is taking us back to “Charm City” with the Jon Bernthal-led limited series, We Own This City. Based on the true story of one of the most shocking instances of police corruption in the 21st Century, the latest in a long line of shows produced by Simon looks to stand toe-to-toe with anything the former journalist at The Baltimore Sun has been a part of so far.

If this is the first you’re hearing of what could be one of the best shows of 2022, worry not, because we’re about to break down everything we know about We Own This City so far, including its release date, large ensemble cast (including some familiar faces from The Wire cast), and other things we can expect from the upcoming HBO series. Time to go back to Baltimore… 

Jon Bernthal on We Own This City

(Image credit: HBO)

We Own This City Debuts April 25 On HBO

There isn’t much time before we go back to David Simon’s version of Baltimore because the six-episode limited series, We Own This City, is set to make its debut Monday, April 25, 2022 on HBO. According to the schedule on the HBO website, these episodes will air at 9 p.m. EDT on the popular premium cable channel.

Those without a cable or satellite package aren’t out of luck as episodes will be made available to stream the same day for anyone with an HBO Max subscription.

Jon Bernthal on We Own This City

(Image credit: HBO)

Jon Bernthal Leads The Expansive We Own This City Cast

Anyone who has watched previous David Simon shows like The Wire, Treme, Show Me a Hero, and The Deuce is fully aware of the executive producer’s habit of telling multi-faceted stories with large ensemble casts. It looks like that trend will continue with We On This City, which features one remarkable collection of actors.

Leading the show (and Baltimore Police Department task force at the center of We Own This City) is Jon Bernthal, who is set to portray Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, a plainclothes officer who becomes the central figure in a massive federal corruption case. Wunmi Mosaku, who appeared on Loki in 2021, portrays Department of Justice prosecutor Nicole Steele, who is assigned to investigate BPD’s Gun Trace Task Force. Jamie Hector, who played notorious drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield on The Wire, takes on the role of Sean M. Suiter, a homicide detective who gets caught up in the show’s drama.

Other members of the We Own This City cast include McKinley Belcher III, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Josh Charles, Dagmara Domińczyk, Rob Brown, Delaney Williams, Treat Williams, and more than a dozen other actors.

Wunmi Mosaku on We Own This City

(Image credit: HBO)

We Own This City Follows The Rise And Fall Of An Elite Yet Corrupt Baltimore Police Task Force

What is a good police drama without some corruption? Well, We Own This City will feature a great deal of corruption and abuse of power as the show is based on the true story of the rise and fall of the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force corruption scandal. According to The Baltimore Sun, members of this once-respected unit were convicted on federal racketeering charges following a lengthy investigation that exposed years of robbery, extortion, and other crimes committed on the streets they swore to protect.

The six-part limited series, which is based on Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton’s book, We Own This City, will focus not just on the task force but also the campaign to bring its members to justice and the impact their decisions had on the city.

Cops and protestors line up on We Own This City

(Image credit: HBO)

Reinaldo Marcus Green Directed The Six-Episode Limited Series

All six episodes of We Own This City were directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, who most recently helmed the Academy Award-nominated biographical drama King Richard (a movie that also featured Jon Bernthal). This will be Green’s second TV series (the first being British crime drama, Top Boy), though his other film work includes Monsters and Men and Joe Bell.

The We Own This City writers room consisted of George Pelecanos, David Simon, Bill Zorzi, and Dwight Watkins, with everyone but Watkins having previously written at least one episode of The Wire and helped make the show one of the best of 21st Century.

Jon Bernthal on We Own This City

(Image credit: HBO)

Why Jon Bernthal Has Called Working On We Own This City An 'Unbelievable Honor’

Jon Bernthal is no stranger when it comes to gritty crime shows and movies like Widows, The Many Saints of Newark, and The Punisher over the years, but working on We Own This City with co-creator David Simon is an “unbelievable honor” for the actor, as he revealed in a 2021 interview with EW:

[David Simon’s] got this unbelievable integrity, this unbelievable commitment to journalistic truth that I love. We're always trying to go for the truth on this show. I think police and race and the intersection of those two things is something that's enormously important to me in my life, and to sort of get this front row seat to it in Baltimore is an unbelievable honor to me, and I think [Simon] and George [Pelecanos] are national treasures.

Bernthal, who previously worked with David Simon on the 2015 Golden Globe-winning limited series, Show Me a Hero, was born and raised in the Washington metropolitan area, a.k.a. the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia), so it's understandable that he'd be intrigued by this story.

Jamie Hector on We Own This City

(Image credit: HBO)

The We Own This City Trailer Is Full Of Intense Drama And Former Stars From The Wire

In March 2022, HBO released the first trailer for We Own This City with a two-minute teaser giving viewers a small taste of the action that will kick off on April 25. With glimpses at the corruption and other crimes carried out by the Baltimore Police Department’s embattled Gun Trace Task Force during the unit’s reign of terror on “Charm City.” This quick look also dives into the drama and action that will follow over the course of the six-episode limited series, but one of the most fascinating aspects of the whole video is the number of actors from The Wire who are involved.

At a quick glance it’s easy to spot Jamie Hector, Darrell Britt-Gibson, and Delaney Williams, all of whom had major roles on opposite sides of the law throughout The Wire. And, with this new show also focusing on the negative impacts of the War on Drugs, these actors look at home back on the streets of Baltimore. Check it out for yourself:

Expect to hear a lot more about about We Own This City as we get closer to its April 25 debut on HBO. If you want to know what will be joining the new crime drama on the small screen, check out CinemaBlend’s list of 2022 TV premiere dates for all the latest on new and returning shows.

Philip Sledge
Philip Sledge

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.