A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac & The Notorious B.I.G., which follows the investigations into the unsolved murders of the two rappers, is intended for mature audiences. Racism and police corruption are major themes, as are things like gang rivalries and hip-hop culture. There are reenactments of murders, and discussions of violent events. The language is strong (though some curses are bleeped), the "N" word is used regularly, and rude gestures are visible, too. There's some strong innuendo, and logos for LA haunts like Tommy's burgers, products like Tanqueray gin, and cars like GMC and Chevy Impala are shown, but in context. Wine, vodka, and other alcoholic beverages are visible, and cigarette, cigar, and marijuana smoking is frequent.
What's the story?
Directed by Anthony Hemingway, UNSOLVED: THE MURDERS OF TUPAC & THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. chronicles two police investigations of the controversial murders of two iconic rappers. Six months after the March 1997 shooting death of Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls, aka The Notorious B.I.G. (played by Wavyy Jonez), Detective Russell Poole (Jimmi Simpson) is assigned the case and begins to uncover evidence that links Smalls' murder to that of Tupac Shakur (Marcc Rose). He also has reasons to believe that the LAPD played a role in his death. Fast-forward to 2006, when Detective Greg Kading (Josh Duhamel) is tasked with reinvestigating the Biggie Smalls homicide after his mother, Voletta Wallace (Aisha Hinds), and other relatives file a wrongful death suit against the department. As viewers follow the dual investigations, they learn more about the friendship between the two rappers, the evidence uncovered about both murders, and some of the many conspiracy theories that continue to circulate about their deaths. Throughout it all, archived news footage, video evidence, and other real-life details are featured.
Is it any good?
This series offers an intriguing, semi-fictionalized account of the investigations into the unsolved murders of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. The imagined conversations between the rappers, investigators, and everyone else involved, combined with murder reenactments, archived media footage, as well as video evidence, present a story that's both interesting and entertaining. The back and forth between the two investigations isn't hard to follow, but detective Poole's work is the most compelling. This isn't surprising, given his well-documented real-life commitment to solving the case and revealing what he believed were the disturbing truths behind it.
Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac & The Notorious B.I.G. reminds audiences familiar with the overall story of the many directions the investigations were rumored to follow, which ranged from looking at East Coast-West Coast hip-hop rivalries, gang-related hits, and the alleged role that rapper Puff Daddy, more recently known as Sean "Diddy" Combs, played in Tupac's death. It also underscores the racial tensions between African American communities and the LAPD at the time these investigations took place. However, for those who know little about it, the series offers an interesting interpretation of what transpired, and why the crimes remain unsolved today.
Talk to your kids about ...
Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac & The Notorious B.I.G. points to racism and racial stereotypes as a potential reason for why the deaths of the two rappers remain unsolved. Do you think this is a a factor?
Families can talk about celebrities and the pressure they face. What do you think Tupac and Biggie's fame had to do with these crimes?
For kids who love crime drama
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