ATX Television Festival season 3 was successfully held in Austin early this summer. LA Splash Magazine was invited to cover the TV Series “Gang Related” (9 p.m. Thursday on Fox). This new action-drama TV series debuted in May 2014. Ramon Rodriguez plays the detective Ryan Lopez of the Gang Task Force (GTF) of the Los Angeles PD. He is placed in this position by his father figure and mentor Javier Acosta, played by Cliff Curtis, who is the leader of a powerful LA gang called Los Angelicos. Ryan struggles between loyalty for the crime family that raised him and his responsibility as a cop.
As TV viewers we have been familiar through the years with the storytelling of gangs from the traditional Italian Mafia who were a despised minority rooted in the working class and seemingly resistant to assimilation. Nowadays Latinos suffer widespread discrimination in housing and employment and make powerful stereo-types centering on poverty, clannishness, illiteracy, high disease rates, and an alleged proclivity toward criminal activities. Now for the first time, FOX Broadcasting has a show about a Latino family gang with realism in the story. Additionally the show has a very diverse cast with different backgrounds and a reasonable amount of dialogue in Spanish and other languages with English subtitles which is very appealing to the bilingual audiences.
Yenis Monterrey exclusive interview at ATX Television Festival 2014. “Gangs Related” FOX Broadcasting. Executive Producer Scott Rosenbaum.
Yenis Monterrey: “It seems very obvious that “diversity” is the main ingredient of the current landscaping on television. In the past television was made to appeal the masses in general, but now it’s meant to attract a niche and targeting specific audiences to increase the rating or followers. Can you tell me Scott Rosenbaum your opinion about it? Also, can you tell me about how Gangs operates and the main focus of the show?"
Scott Rosenbaum: “I think ultimately that TV shows that are a successful look into the psyche of the country. Obviously the country has been evolving since it was first founded and different immigrants came in. Oftentimes, we had the Italian mob shows; the Italians immigrants started telling their stories and as an audience we started to become very fascinated by their stories and by the people in that community. A wide audience that was interested in those kind of shows and it was “prospectively in scene.” As you know as the country is becoming attractive for Latinos and we have more Latinos immigrants, so we are having more American Latinos experiences and in general the audience will be attracted by their stories.
Certainly Latinos started having their own voices and they started telling their stories. As TV broadcast we are storytellers trying to bring people into that life experience with our show, and it’s very interesting and different. Ultimately, many of the things are all the same, we take care of our families and usually in most cases the cruel reality is that crimes come often from the product of injustices, like people aren’t accepted, aren’t able to get jobs, and they have families to feed. We are telling the story in "Gang Related" about the real and deeper issues suffered by our society of immigrants. When you don’t allow opportunities for everybody and sometimes bad things happen. We will learn in the Gang Related show the evolution and values of these families and basically it’s all about protection or taking care of the family. Many of them don’t have a job or can’t find one and it’s about them trying to fit in and wanting to have a life depending on the neighborhood where they grew up. Sometimes it’s very difficult because we want to tell the good part of the story as well as the bad. The story is backwards at the beginning you first meet Angelicos; you see them first as the “Gang” they are the bad, but as the season moves forward and you see little glimpses of it and for example on the second episode you end up at their house and we see them as families with values and we are sort of trying to twist people’s perceptions.”
Yenis Monterrey: “It’s very interesting to see on the show the interaction of different gangs, Russian mafia, Chinese mafia and many other diverse nationalities. Is it always about gang wars? “
Scott Rosenbaum: "The show basically concentrates on The Angelicos Gangs and they are the key family. They are sort of spying, they are the center, but for them to survive yes! There is a Russian Gang, the Afro-American Gang, the Korean Gang and all these other Gangs all fighting over this turf, we will meet them! But, fundamentally the show is about The Angelicos (Acosta) family and their journey of then try to get out and to do so they need the Lead character Ryan."
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