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Joshua James
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Godfather Of HarlemTV Show 2019

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. On January 13, 2022, the series was renewed for a third season which premiered on the renamed MGM+ on January 15, 2023.

Godfather of HarlemTV Show | 2019


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.[4][7][8]

  • The series premiered on September 29, 2019. On February 12, 2020, it was renewed for a second season, which premiered on April 18, 2021. On January 13, 2022, it was renewed for a third season, which is set to premiere on January 15, 2023.Tropes Associated with Godfather of Harlem Include: Age Lift: The real Gigante was in his mid-30s at the time this series is set whereas Vincent D'Onofrio was 60 when he took the part.

  • Always a Bigger Fish: Gigante is powerful but he is only the acting boss of the Genovese family. His decisions can always be overridden by the imprisoned Vito Genovese. He also cannot go against the wishes of the Mafia Commission since that would mean war with the other Mafia families. However, as long as Gigante does not overstep his bounds, these people are unlikely to interfere on behalf of Johnson. If the Commission sides with Gigante, Johnson either has to try to fight it out or go to the federal government and hope that he can get protection in exchange for his testimony.

  • When the Mafia forces Johnson out of the heroin business, he hatches a plan to distribute cocaine instead. However, to get a sufficient supply he has to cozzy up to the CIA. The new alliance gives Johnson a massive advantage but he soon comes to regret it when the CIA starts making demands on him that he is unwilling to fulfill.

  • The Alcatraz: The genuine article, where Bumpy was imprisoned, is occasionally seen in flashbacks.

  • All for Nothing: After everything that Bumpy goes through in Season 2 to take over the French Connection, all the heroin he bought ends up burning down during the Harlem Riots.

  • Assassination Attempt: Several attempts are made on Malcolm's life throughout Season 3 due to his communist ties and efforts to unite the Civil Rights Movement under his banner. One finally succeeds in killing him in the season finale.

  • Bullying a Dragon: Will Harvey thinks it's a good idea to threaten the daughters of men like Chin Gigante and Bumpy Johnson to try and force them to do what he wants. They throw him off a roof for his troubles.

  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: For all their talk of 'loyalty', the mafia and their associates are quick to betray each other for their own personal gain. Bumpy is the only one who makes an effort to maintain his own moral code.

  • Criminal Procedural: The movie shows how the crime world overlaps with history, religion, and politics.

  • Dangerously Close Shave: Bumpy Johnson's weapon is a straight razor.

  • Death by Adaptation: In real life, Will Harvey lived until 1976, when he died of a heart attack, as opposed to how the show presents him being thrown off a roof by Chin and Bumpy in 1965.

  • Decapitation Presentation: In "Angel of Death", Colombo delivers Monsieur 98's head to Bumpy in a bag to symbolize how he's taken control of the French Connection.

  • Destination Defenestration: In the Season 3 finale, Chin and Bumpy throw Will Harvey off a roof for threatening their daughters.

  • Diabolus ex Machina: From Johnson's perspective the assassination for President Kennedy is this. The Kennedy administration is going after the Mafia and Johnson gets the New York mob families to back off by threatening to turn over to the feds records of tax evasion by the dons that will put all of them away for a long time. The one thing Johnson did not anticipate was that the President of the United States will be murdered and the new administration backs away from anti-mob investigations.

  • Enemy Mine: Malcom X hates that Johnson is selling drugs in Harlem but he allies himself with Johnson in order to keep Gigante out of the neighborhood.

  • Johnson and Gigante hate each other but they are also very pragmatic criminals who understand that they are both underdogs in New York's underworld and the real opposition are the other Mafia families. In season 2, once they are no longer allowed to try to kill each other, they quickly reach an understanding that allows them to get rich at the expense of the other Mafia dons. Later they help each other out when they are targeted by the FBI.

  • In Season 3, Johnson forms an alliance with Spanish Harlem crime boss Jose Battle in order to create an equal partnership that allows them to get out from under the Italians' overlordship.

  • Epic Fail: Johnson sends his best men to perform a hit. They forget to put bullets in the gun and their target escapes while they are trying to figure out why their gun will not fire. Afterwards they admit to Johnson that they screwed up beyond belief and there is no excuse for their failure.

  • Even Evil Has Standards: Chin in the most vicious and brutal of the mafia leaders, but is disgusted when the rest of the Commission vote to overlook Bumpy's violations of mob laws in order to guarantee their supply of heroin goes uninterrupted.

  • The Italian mobsters are quite racist against the blacks but they do not like the KKK and consider them little more than Nazis.

  • Foregone Conclusion: The series is based on the lives of real historical people so anyone familiar with that part of history knows how major plot lines will conclude.

  • Muhammad Ali will not throw a boxing match.

  • Malcolm X will survive numerous attempts on his life but will be assassinated on February 21, 1965.

  • Friendly Neighborhood Gangster: Bumpy is seen as this by the citizens of Harlem, but he is just as brutal and violent as any other criminal when the chips are down.

  • Historical Domain Character: Most everyone, but the more notable characters are Malcom X, Muhammad Ali, and Bumpy Johnson himself.

  • Ironic Echo: After screwing over one of Bumpy's plans and leaving him in debt to Luchesse, Gigante gloats that "that's me, above you". In the Season 1 finale, after killing the hitman Gigante sent after him, Bumpy calls him to let him know he failed, and throws the line back at him.Bumpy: Your friend from Sicily's going home in a box. You're next. And that's me, above you!

  • Jurisdiction Friction: In Season 3, the FBI and CIA clash over who gets to go after Malcolm after his newfound alliance with Che Guevara, the Agency claiming him as a national security threat, while the Bureau points out that his being on US soil puts him in their territory.

  • Never My Fault: Bumpy refuses to accept responsibility for his role in how heroin is destroying people's lives, blaming his customers for getting addicted in the first place.

  • Obfuscating Insanity: As in Real Life, Gigante feigns insanity to avoid testifying to the FBI and Congress.

  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Vincent Gigante, who plays the part of Dumb Muscle but is a lot smarter and savvier about the inner workings of the crime world than he lets on. This is lampshaded by Bumpy Johnson at their first meeting.

  • Oh, Crap!: Johnson experiences this when he realizes that too many bets have been made on a single number in the Numbers Lottery and is Properly Paranoid enough to realize that the lottery has been fixed. He does not have enough money to pay out all those debts and if he does not pay out, his reputation and power base will be gone.

  • Papa Wolf: Gigante is a violent man in the best of times, but you do not want to get involved with his daughter.

  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Vincent Gigante is unapologetically racist, which gives his desire to run Harlem a personal angle, as well as being particularly resistant to his daughter's romance with Teddy.

  • Spiritual Successor: Or, rather, Spiritual Prequel to American Gangster.

  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Teddy Greene, a black musician, is in love with Vincent Gigante's daughter Stella.



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