A Hartford 'Wire?' | MassCops

A Hartford 'Wire?'

Discussion in 'Entertainment & Literature' started by Andy0921, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. Andy0921

    Andy0921 MassCops Member

    A Hartford 'Wire?'

    A cop and a criminal collaborate on a new television series

    It's not hard to imagine how Mark Manson, a Hartford police officer, and Felix Soto, a known criminal in the city, felt about each other upon their first meeting.

    "I think (he's) like, the scum of the scum," Manson remembers thinking, "and he thinks I'm a jerk 'cause I'm a cop. I never would have thought in my wildest dreams I would associate with him."

    But their mutual passion for entertainment, along with a well-connected Groton attorney, Donald L. Williams, led to a project called "The Second District," a television series they are negotiating to get on the air.

    The Second District is called the most dangerous area in Hartford in the trailer for the show, which has gained attention on YouTube and Facebook. Manson says the name itself is not a real beat, but the streets and neighborhoods are.

    "If you're assigned to this district, you will be challenged," the trailer says, as aerial shots of the city and highways flash by.

    As a struggling police department fights to maintain order, the description reads, rival gangs have seized control of portions of the city, leaving the public in fear and a once vibrant city without hope.

    In a style similar to HBO's "The Wire," the show aims to portray both the realities of being a police officer and a gangster in the city, says Manson, who began a career in acting in New York before joining the Coast Guard and then law enforcement in his home state of Connecticut.

    He spent time with Soto, who is now in prison for bank robbery and other crimes, in bookstores or in the car writing and revising to get the terminology and street language right.

    Soto then got Williams involved. Williams says he was representing Soto for an extortion case when they started talking about the project. Williams, who has experience in entertainment - acting, singing and publishing books - helped form Independent House Productions and eventually turn their rough draft into a polished pilot.

    They connected with a production company called Solid Brick Entertainment, which started shooting for three weeks in July in Hartford, East Hartford, New Britain and Bloomfield, including in real housing projects. They held casting calls and used some actual police officers, along with real uniforms, guns and cruisers, Williams says.

    They have about six to eight episodes written, and Williams' character shows up in the fourth episode.

    "It's really our lives fictionalized," he says.

    David Wenzel, with Onward and Sideways Productions, learned about the project through his brother, who has connections in law enforcement. Wenzel and his partner Rick Lohman are helping shop the show around the industry.

    "Obviously crime shows are a dime a dozen," Wenzel says. But The Second District "rings so true. It's so organic and so honest."

    "What's an interesting hook is here you've got (a police officer) and a creative liaison who's been in the criminal system for 20 years," Wenzel says of Williams.

    It's people with real background versus writers in Hollywood trying to write from a perspective they'll never be able to get, he adds.

    Williams, who originally moved to Connecticut as a Navy JAG, says the show's hardest sell is its Connecticut setting.

    "No one knew affluent Connecticut had issues," he says, adding that people who know about the production have been telling him it could be "a fantastic thing for Hartford," highlighting social issues.

    Manson stresses the show is "purely entertainment," pointing out his decision to make the Hartford police chief a woman, heightening the drama of internal politics in the department, but at the same time, he wants to maintain the feeling of reality.

    "It was easy because I was writing what I know," he says. "I've been involved in an officer-involved shooting, I know what it feels like... I want cops, not just in Hartford to say, this is what it feels like."

    The trailer's popularity on social media sites has them further tweaking the show based on viewer comments, like the scene on the roof where Felix's character is wearing Adidas. In Hartford, the commenters say, they wear Nike. Manson and Williams want to get even those small details right, in addition to consulting with other police officers and doctors on their experiences.

    Manson wants the end of every episode to be dedicated to a police officer fallen in the line of duty. His relative, Henry Jennings, was a Hartford police officer who was killed in line of duty in 1964.

    The partners aren't sure whether the show will have an effect on crime in Hartford.

    Manson says, "You may get a criminal who looks at the show and says, 'Is that me? Is this what I'm really doing, killing people out there?'" But Williams points out that others may see the show as glorifying those actions.

    "Either way, it's bringing out a real reaction from real people," Williams says.

    The Day - A Hartford 'Wire?' | News from southeastern Connecticut

    Trailer: [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XDmgcsQyOk"]YouTube - The Second District (Trailer - Watch in HD)[/nomedia]
  2. HuskyH-2

    HuskyH-2 G-Rap made me do it!

    Anything like this will always be a cheap imiation to me, of the Wire. And if your actually going to try and make the "new wire" it has to I repeat HAS, to be on HBO
  3. 263FPD

    263FPD Well-Known Member

    A hearty "Fuck You" to Mark Manson for enabling some Douche Street Thug and POS Crimnal Defence Attorney to profit from this.

    What, Manson? You really needed this Jailed Fuckstick to make this happen?

    I know that MY PD's Policy dictates that we can not socialize and associate with convicted felons. Is this guy still on the job?
  4. niteowl1970

    niteowl1970 Moderator Staff Member

    He's still a member of the HPD. He's a highly decorated veteran and a lead hostage negotiator. This is a a fucked up quote from him though.

    "Manson said he doesn't normally make friends with the criminals he meets on the job. But he said he and Felix Soto bonded a few years ago over their distaste for unrealistic crime dramas."

    He needs to bond with a better class of people. How many other criminals has he "bonded" with over the years ?
  5. Andy0921

    Andy0921 MassCops Member

    It's not a direct quote.

    Although, I can't imagine the media altering or misrepresenting something that a police officer said. :rolleyes:

    I highly doubt they were bonding or consorting at local drinking establishments on a Friday night.
  6. niteowl1970

    niteowl1970 Moderator Staff Member

    I agree... But just having his name intertwined with a scumbag like Soto is enough to tarnish his reputation.
  7. 263FPD

    263FPD Well-Known Member

    Not relevant. He is colaborating with a felon. If this thing takes off, the felon profits. One way or another he is consorting with a criminal, weather it is or isn't over drinks, a bong, a line of coke, or a can of coke for that matter, makes very little difference to me.
  8. justanotherparatrooper

    justanotherparatrooper Pissin' in liberals cheerio's for 40 years :) Staff Member

    Holy CRap ANDY!, where ya been ?
  9. Andy0921

    Andy0921 MassCops Member

    I agree, and the fact that this could be both lucrative for a shithead and criminal defense attorney (one in the same, I know) vexes me as well. I was merely pointing out the deliberate verbiage the reporter used to hint of impropriety on the officer’s behalf.

    ---------- Post added at 00:17 ---------- Previous post was at 00:14 ----------

    Hey you dirty old bastard! Just been busy as hell. I'll try not to be a stranger.
  10. SinePari

    SinePari Needs more complaints

    I dunno. I'm no fan of any cop show, but these actors can't pull it off. The trailer has actors who are definitely out of their elements, over-acting I guess. Watch their eyes. They don't believe what they're saying, they're not real. And if they don't believe it, what makes them think that I'm gonna believe it. It's tough to top The Shield or The Wire.

    Using real criminals in television and movies is nothing new. As far as the cop collaborating with the felon, I think that because acting is in his blood he's blinding by his quest for the spotlight and fame and probably should rethink his role in this project.

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