REVIEW: ‘Snowfall’ Explores Cocaine Epidemic in 1980’s Los Angeles

While millions of people wait for the arrival of the long-awaited winter to take over Game of Thrones, there’s a different kind of snowstorm hitting FX this summer.

From Boyz n the Hood writer and director, John Singleton, comes Snowfall, a travel back in time to 1980s Los Angeles, where the boomboxes were big, the clothes colorful, and the crack-cocaine epidemic was just beginning. We follow three intertwining stories that shine a light on how crack spread across South Central L.A.: poverty, government and international interference.

At the center of crack’s introduction into the streets of South Central is Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), a young and motivated kid who was educated in the upper class, predominately white neighborhoods in the Valley. Franklin yearns for a better life for him and his single mother, so to help make ends meet he works at a convenience store and sells marijuana for his uncle on the side. When visiting one of his rather wealthy, white friends — whose parents are in the porn industry — Frankling finds himself accompanying his friend to the mansion of Avi Drexler (Alon Moni Aboutboul), an Israeli expatriate who deals primarily in cocaine, where he arrives a small-time pot dealer and leaves with a kilo of cocaine he has 24 hours to sell — something his Uncle Jerome (Amin Joseph) points out is impossible since all of their weed clients can’t afford to have a coke habit.

Across town is Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson), a CIA operative sentenced to desk work in the L.A. office after an unknown mishap in the past. After a series of unfortunate (or fortunate, if you’re Teddy) events occur, Teddy finds himself stepping into a dead man’s shoes and embarking on a journey of trafficking cocaine into the United States from South America.

The third branch of this epidemic is Gustavo ‘El Orso’ Zapata (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), a Mexican wrestler turned enforcer who finds himself in cahoots with Lucia Villaneuva (Emily Rios), the daughter of a Mexican crime lord that is in the business of importing/exporting weed throughout L.A. But, being an entrapenuer herself, Lucia sees the possibilities and profitability of cocaine.

Singleton brings the same huge magnifying glass to streets of L.A., examining how poverty, desperation and the search for a better life can lead to a snowball of bad decisions and life-threatening danger. Sex, drugs and danger coupled with FX’s track record of envelope-pushing TV shows, it’s easy to see why Snowfall found a comfortable home at the network.

Snowfall premieres July 5 at 10pm ET on FX.

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