“It’s really important to create a story and a cast of characters that speak to moments in American history that other people have never spoken to,” says “Snowfall” writer and producer Walter Mosley about shining a light on the crack epidemic in Los Angeles in the 1980s and the complicity of the CIA in that crisis. We talked with Mosley as part of our “FX Writing for Inclusion” panel. Watch our exclusive video interview with Mosley above.
“Snowfall” tells the fictional story of Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), a low-level drug dealer who becomes a kingpin by helping a CIA agent (Carter Hudson) traffic drugs to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. So right there the series is digging deeper into a subject that viewers may “think they know,” exploring aspects of it “that nobody else has ever talked about. That part of history, well that’s quiet.”
But the series isn’t just concerned with geopolitics. It also depicts how Franklin’s relationships are affected by the combination of racism and the tidal wave of drugs. For instance, Franklin’s conflict with his estranged father Alton (Kevin Carroll) came to a head in season four: Alton responded to oppression by joining the Black Panthers, but Franklin went another way, deciding to follow “the greatest criminals in American history, which is the robber barons. And I’m going to be like them. I’m going to make my money. I’m going to make my mark.”
Mosley is best known as a novelist, where he has also explored crime in Los Angeles during the 20th century with his Easy Rawlins mysteries like “Devil in a Blue Dress.” When he joined the “Snowfall” writers room in season two he was new to TV. He was brought on by series co-creator John Singleton, who died suddenly in 2019 before season four was shot. Mosley remembers him as a “great man” who extended opportunities to people who needed them: “He wasn’t overly solicitous or anything. He would just say, if you can make it, you can make it. Here’s the chance.”
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