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A few words about "Mob City"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: December 4, 2013

Tonight at 9, TNT premieres the series set among '40s cops and mobsters in Los Angeles, with two episodes running tonight and the next two Wednesdays. This is my kind of stuff. I have read the John Buntin book "L.A. Noir" which inspired the TV series, not to mention Paul Lieberman's articles about the real-ife L.A. "gangster squad" -- which led to a book and then, later, the "Gangster Squad" movie -- which disappointed me even more because I am so interested in the period.

This should all have made me a prime viewer for "Mob City," which has some of the look and none of the energy of the period it deals with. In fact, during a key scene in tonight's telecast, the drawn-out and draggy dialogue put me to sleep.

Really. I fell asleep. And when I woke up, I felt no particular urge to see what I had missed.

The series has some good actors (Neal McDonough, a funny and sweaty Simon Pegg), a lot of '40s-ish faces (almost as if 5-o'clock shadow was mandatory), and a terrific period to cover. But it is so solemn, and so talky, that even its core conflicts proved uninteresting. What's the old line? The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter? This isn't even that gaudy.

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