Since season one of “The Chi” ended with Ronnie (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine) confessing to murder, Mwine worried “that might be the end of me. You might not see this character again.” Luckily for the actor, the writers “gave me so much to do this year. It’s really been a blessing.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Mwine above or listen to the audio version below.
In the first season of this Lena Waithe-created series for Showtime about life on the South Side of Chicago, Ronnie desperately tried to prove his love to Tracy (Tai Davis). When Tracy’s son was murdered he killed Coogie (Jahking Guillory), the young man he suspected committed the crime. But it turned out he went after the wrong guy, and Coogie’s older brother, Brandon (Jason Mitchell), vowed to bring his murderer to justice.
At the end of the season Ronnie turned himself in. “It’s the classic story of guilt tearing one person up and trying to come to terms,” Mwine says. “Ronnie really looks within and tries to do the right thing.” Yet his effort to do that “lands him in a deeper hole of trouble.”
But the charges are dismissed because Ronnie was intoxicated the night he confessed, which “was something I learned about the criminal justice system,” Mwine admits. A confession “can’t be coerced and one has to be in a clean, sober mind … It’s just hard to believe that for murder you could get off.”
Beyond the central storyline, the actor was excited to explore his character in greater depth, delving into “where he came from … and what he’s been struggling with for his lifetime.” We learn that Ronnie “has struggled with alcohol and addiction,” and has tried to put his life back together with the help of “strong women” like Tracy and his grandmother (LaDonna Tittle).
Mwine is a veteran character actor with credits that also include such shows as “ER,” “Alias,” “Heroes,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Treme,” “The Newsroom,” and “The Knick,” as well as the movie “Queen of Katwe” (2016). His short film “Kuhani,” which he wrote, directed and starred in, was nominated for the Best Narrative Short prize at the 2014 Slamdance Film Festival. Earlier this year “The Chi” earned an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Drama Series.
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