Written by: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer
At first glance K-Ville seems to be just another police drama. We’re first introduced to Marlin Boulet (Anthony Anderson), a dedicated cop working in one of the worst districts in the city. In the premiere he gets assigned a new partner, in the person of the mysterious (dangerous?) Trevor Cobb (Cole Hauser). But the opening scene of the series establishes that this cop drama is unique in one very important way. It’s set in present day, post-Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans.
In that opening scene and other flashbacks throughout the subsequent episodes, we see the main characters in the days and weeks following the flooding of the Crescent City, struggling not only to do their jobs but simply to survive. We also learn about the past of Boulet’s new partner. Not quite what he seems, when Katrina came ashore Cobb was in fact serving a brief prison sentence. Trapped in a flooding jail cell, he promised himself that if given a second chance, he would change his life. Having slipped through the cracks, this reformed ex-con has returned to serve as a police officer in the city he loves. This, of course, is a point of tension between the new partners and there’s no doubt Cobb’s past will rear its head to complicate matters in future episodes.
It becomes very clear that K-Ville is not a serialized re-telling of The Big Easy. There is no escaping the fact that this show is set in present day New Orleans, a city forever changed by what happened in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. It seems that this creates a tight rope for the writers. Lean too far one way, and they become guilty of using the imagery as a kind of publicity stunt, trying to stoke the curiosity of viewers to garner ratings. Lean too far the other way, and they are likely to get criticized for using the show as a soap box to lobby their own political agenda.
While I admit a personal connection to New Orleans piqued my own interest in this show, I don’t feel any of the imagery has been used gratuitously. My impression is that the producers have been very responsible in how they are portraying the reality of the situation still today. The show has even been recognized by the New Orleans Police Department as emphasizing the “good work that the men and the women of the Police Department performed (after Katrina), which was not portrayed by much of the media”.
As for any attempted proselytizing, the writers have certainly been doing a fair bit of criticizing and preaching thus far. The first three episodes have all featured corrupt public officials involved in various illegal activities detrimental to New Orleans. It is clear the message of K-Ville is that despite being forgotten by mainstream media, the road to recovery for New Orleans is still long and difficult, but it is not impossible as long as the real-life inspirations for these characters continue to fight for it. For that reason alone, in spite of some poor dialogue and questionable editing, I’d love to see this show succeed.