Godfather of Harlem

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Godfather of Harlem
Godfather of Harlem logo.jpg
GenreCrime drama
Written by
Starring
Theme music composerMark Isham
Opening theme"Just In Case" by Swizz Beatz
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes16
Production
Executive producers
  • Chris Brancato
  • Paul Eckstein
  • Forest Whitaker
  • Nina Yang Bongiovi
  • James Acheson
  • John Ridley
  • Markuann Smith
Production locationNew York City
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time47–60 min
Production companies
DistributorDisney–ABC Domestic Television
Release
Original networkEpix
Original releaseSeptember 29, 2019 (2019-09-29) –
present

Godfather of Harlem is an American crime drama television series which premiered on September 29, 2019, on Epix.[1] The series is written by Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein, and stars Forest Whitaker as 1960s New York City gangster Bumpy Johnson. Whitaker is also executive producer alongside Nina Yang Bongiovi, James Acheson, John Ridley and Markuann Smith. Chris Brancato acts as showrunner. On February 12, 2020, the series was renewed for a second season which premiered on April 18, 2021.[2][3]

A docu-series based on the series titled By Whatever Means Necessary: The Times of Godfather of Harlem premiered on November 8, 2020.[4][5]

Premise[edit]

Godfather of Harlem tells the "true story of infamous crime boss Bumpy Johnson, who in the early 1960s returned from ten years in prison to find the neighborhood he once ruled in shambles. With the streets controlled by the Italian mob, Bumpy must take on the Genovese crime family to regain control. During the brutal battle, he forms an alliance with preacher Malcolm X – catching Malcolm's political rise in the crosshairs of social upheaval and a mob war that threatens to tear the city apart."[6]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

Recurring[edit]

Guest[edit]

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
110September 29, 2019 (2019-09-29)December 1, 2019 (2019-12-01)
210April 18, 2021 (2021-04-18)August 29, 2021 (2021-08-29)

Season 1 (2019)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"By Whatever Means Necessary"John RidleyChris Brancato & Paul EcksteinSeptember 29, 2019 (2019-09-29)
22"The Nitty Gritty"Joe ChappelleChris BrancatoOctober 6, 2019 (2019-10-06)
33"Our Day Will Come"Joe ChappellePaul EcksteinOctober 13, 2019 (2019-10-13)
44"I Am the Greatest"Guillermo NavarroChris BrancatoOctober 20, 2019 (2019-10-20)
55"It's All in the Game"Guillermo NavarroLawrence AndriesOctober 27, 2019 (2019-10-27)
66"Il Canto de Malavita"Tanya HamiltonChris BrancatoNovember 3, 2019 (2019-11-03)
77"Masters of War"Tanya HamiltonZach CaligNovember 10, 2019 (2019-11-10)
88"How I Got Over"Ernest R. DickersonResheida Brady & Mosie VerneauNovember 17, 2019 (2019-11-17)
99"Rent Strike Blues"Ernest R. DickersonChris Brancato & Michael PanesNovember 24, 2019 (2019-11-24)
1010"Chickens Come Home to Roost"Joe ChappelleChris BrancatoDecember 1, 2019 (2019-12-01)

Season 2 (2021)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
111"The French Connection"Joe ChappelleChris BrancatoApril 18, 2021 (2021-04-18)
122"Sting Like a Bee"Guillermo NavarroChris Brancato & Michael PanesApril 25, 2021 (2021-04-25)
133"The Fruit Stand Riot"Guillermo NavarroChris Brancato & Paul EcksteinMay 2, 2021 (2021-05-02)
144"The Geechee"Joe ChappelleHeather Mitchell, Chris Brancato & Michael PanesMay 9, 2021 (2021-05-09)
155"It's a Small World After All"Guillermo NavarroMatthew NewmanMay 16, 2021 (2021-05-16)
166"The Ballot or the Bullet"Marisol AdlerChris Brancato & Michael PanesMay 23, 2021 (2021-05-23)
177TBATBATBAAugust 8, 2021 (2021-08-08)

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

On April 25, 2018, it was announced that Epix had given the production a series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes set to premiere in 2019. The series will be written by Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein who will also executive produce alongside Forest Whitaker, Nina Yang Bongiovi, James Acheson, and Markuann Smith. Brancato will also act as showrunner. Production companies involved with the series include ABC Signature Studios and Significant Productions.[6][7][8]

On June 19, 2018, it was reported that John Ridley would direct the first episode of the series.[9]

On February 12, 2020, the series was renewed for a second season which premiered on April 18, 2021.[2][3]

Casting[edit]

Alongside the initial series order announcement, it was confirmed that Forest Whitaker would star in the series as Bumpy Johnson.[6] In September 2018, it was announced that Vincent D'Onofrio, Ilfenesh Hadera, Antoinette Crowe-Legacy, Nigél Thatch, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Lucy Fry, and Paul Sorvino had been cast in starring roles.[10][11][12][13][14][15] In October 2018, it was reported that Giancarlo Esposito and Rafi Gavron had joined the cast in a series regular capacity.[16][17] On January 8, 2019, it was announced that Kathrine Narducci had been cast in a recurring role.[18]

For the second season in 2021, Justin Bartha, Annabella Sciorra, Ronald Guttman, Isaach de Bankolé, Method Man, Michael Rispoli and Grace Porter were added to the cast.[19][20] In May 2021, it was announced that actress Whoopi Goldberg will appear in a guest role.[21]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography for the series reportedly began in September 2018 in New York City.[22]

Reception[edit]

For the first season, the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 92% approval rating with an average rating of 7.50/10, based on 25 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads: "As sharply dressed as it is smartly written, Godfather of Harlem walks familiar blocks to its own beat and makes a strong first impression."[23] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the season a score of 72 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[24]

Cheryl Kahla of The South African said: "The Godfather of Harlem is an excellent example of what modern television is capable of today. Whitaker’s character Bumpy is a drug kingpin but also just a man trying to make sense of the world and connect with his family".[25]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2020 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Drama Series Godfather of Harlem Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Forest Whitaker Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Giancarlo Esposito Nominated
Nigel Thatch Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Main Title Design Mason Nicoll, Peter Pak, Giovana Pham and Cisco Torres Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Video: New Trailer for the EPIX Original Series "Godfather of Harlem" Released" (Press release). Epix. June 14, 2019. Archived from the original on May 29, 2020. Retrieved June 13, 2019 – via The Futon Critic.
  2. ^ a b "EPIX(R) Renews Critically-Acclaimed Drama Series "Godfather of Harlem" for Season Two" (Press release). Epix. February 12, 2020. Archived from the original on November 13, 2020. Retrieved February 12, 2020 – via The Futon Critic.
  3. ^ a b "Video: EPIX Releases New Full-Length Teaser Trailer for "Godfather of Harlem" Season 2 and Announces Premiere Date of April 18" (Press release). Epix. February 18, 2021 – via The Futon Critic.
  4. ^ Petski, Denise (July 20, 2020). "'Godfather Of Harlem'-Inspired Docuseries From Forest Whitaker Set At Epix". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  5. ^ "EPIX(R) Sets Premiere Date for Docuseries "By Whatever Means Necessary: The Times of Godfather of Harlem"" (Press release). Epix. October 8, 2020 – via The Futon Critic.
  6. ^ a b c Petski, Denise (April 25, 2018). "Forest Whitaker To Topline Straight-To-Series Crime Drama At Epix". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 1, 2019. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  7. ^ Otterson, Joe (April 25, 2018). "Forest Whitaker to Star in Epix Drama Series 'Godfather of Harlem'". Variety. Archived from the original on October 1, 2019. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  8. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (April 25, 2018). "Forest Whitaker to Star in Epix Straight-to-Series Crime Drama (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 26, 2019. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 19, 2018). "John Ridley To Direct First Episode Of 'Godfather Of Harlem' Epix Crime Drama". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 23, 2019. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  10. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (September 11, 2018). "Vincent D'Onofrio to Star Opposite Forest Whitaker in Epix's 'Godfather of Harlem' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 12, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  11. ^ Petski, Denise (September 12, 2018). "'Godfather Of Harlem': Ilfenesh Hadera To Co-Star In Epix Crime Drama". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  12. ^ Petski, Denise (September 19, 2018). "'Godfather Of Harlem': Antoinette Crowe-Legacy Joins Forest Whitaker Epix Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  13. ^ Petski, Denise (September 21, 2018). "'Godfather Of Harlem': Nigél Thatch To Star As Malcolm X In Epix Drama Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 21, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  14. ^ Petski, Denise (September 26, 2018). "'Godfather Of Harlem': Kelvin Harrison Jr. & Lucy Fry Cast In Epix Drama Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  15. ^ Petski, Denise (September 27, 2018). "'Godfather Of Harlem': Paul Sorvino To Star In Epix Drama Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  16. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 2, 2018). "'Godfather Of Harlem': Giancarlo Esposito To Star In Epix Drama Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 3, 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  17. ^ Petski, Denise (October 8, 2018). "'A Star Is Born's Rafi Gavron Joins Epix Crime Drama 'Godfather Of Harlem'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 9, 2018. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  18. ^ Petski, Denise (January 8, 2019). "'Godfather Of Harlem' Casts Kathrine Narducci; Juan Riedinger Joins 'Claws'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 8, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  19. ^ Del Rosario, Alexandra (March 17, 2021). "'Godfather Of Harlem': Justin Bartha, Annabella Sciorra & Ronald Guttman To Recur In Season 2". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  20. ^ Petski, Denise (January 7, 2021). "'Walker' Casts Rebekah Graf; Grace Porter Joins 'Godfather Of Harlem'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ Welch, Rebecca (July 18, 2018). "Follow Cynthia Erivo Underground in 'Harriet'". Backstage. Archived from the original on July 22, 2018. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  23. ^ "Godfather of Harlem: Season 1 (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  24. ^ "Godfather of Harlem: Season 1 reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  25. ^ Kahla, Cheryl (November 11, 2019). "Godfather of Harlem: In conversation with Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker". thesouthafrican.com. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved May 9, 2020.

External links[edit]