Gang Related takes the familiar tale of a cop who goes undercover in a gang to bring it down on its head.
This is the story of a young boy, Ryan Lopez, who lost his father at a young age and was taken in by gang leader, Javier Acosta, and raised to be a cop. Based on the tone of Gang Related Season 1 Episode 1, it's going to be a dark tale full of difficult decisions and competing allegiances.
I sympathize with Ryan's desire to do what's right for himself, his family and the task force. He's been able to balance his loyalties so far, but with Chapel's new initiative to go after family members, his mission will get much more murky.
As much as this is a cop vs. gang tale, it's perhaps even more a story about families and what one will do for those real and created. Ryan's pulled between two adopted families: the Acostas and the Task Force. In the premiere, Acosta continually reinforced Ryan's behavior and patted him on the back for a job well done. At the office, Chapel did the same thing by giving him the special gun and commending him on his busts.
The parallels continue with his siblings in both families as well. At this point, Javier isn't going after the Task Force, but with Chapel's shift in focus to the Acosta family members that could easily change. Ryan will be caught in the middle, which will put him in a precarious position.
When Carlos killed his partner, Tanner, Ryan appeared to become enlightened about what he was really doing. He didn't shoot at Carlos then, but his eyes were opened to how Carlos was a danger on the streets and to his family. Does Javier really want to leave the criminal activities and go legit? Maybe, but not Carlos, while Daniel clearly doesn't want any part of that family business.
I enjoyed seeing the different task force members use their own strengths to get information. Ryan used Javier, he and his partner didn't hold back from blackmailing a guy, Tae Kim held hot nuts in his hand to get access, and Vee used her sex appeal and a stun gun. Each method got them an answer and one step closer to finding out that Carlos was the shooter.
Ryan's ability to fulfill his responsibilities to both sides effectively was impressive. He grabbed the gun to protect Carlos and gave him information to trade the cops, then he used that to get Fish Scale off the streets. It was a win-win.
I didn't see the last few minutes coming at all. Ryan ratted out Carlos to a rival gang and they took the cop killer out. Another win-win. He removed Carlos from the streets, protected his family from the rotten son, and got justice for his partner. Ryan's able to walk down a street of gray and get what needs to be done done.
I'm intrigued by Ryan and all the players on both sides. With Chapel's daughter as the ADA investigating Tanner's shooting and Paul Carter from Internal Affairs looking into it, Ryan's going to have to be more careful than ever.
Even though Ryan's helping Acosta's gang, he seems to be doing it from a good-hearted place. He believes that Javier wants to go clean and become a legitimate business person. He also cares about his friend, Daniel, who is trying to do good in the community with his new bank.
There's no doubt that he's being manipulated, but is it possible that he can work both sides and help make a better community? I'm not sure, but I'm along for the ride to find out whether he can or not. Are you?
Grade the premiere!