“I’m not afraid to die,” gasps a bloody man facing the muzzle of drug lord James "Ghost" St. Patrick.
“And I’m not afraid to kill you,” comes the answer, with the flash of a bullet.
It’s all in a day’s work for the star of executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s new TV show, “Power,” premiering June 7 on Starz. With a beautiful home, respect on the street and the finest duds, Ghost (Omari Hardwick) seems to have it all. But he struggles with finding fulfillment outside of his illicit business; hopes of getting out are snuffed out by his complicit wife, Tasha (Naturi Naughton), and partner in crime, Tommy (Joseph Sikora).
Although “Power” does tread on themes present in the wider gangster-drama genre, it creates a new formula, according to 50 Cent, who explains: “The way the actual project was put together, it has more facets to each one of the characters and what’s driving the overall scenario.” Showrunner Courtney Kemp Agboh also emphasizes the female component of “Power.” “The women in this show are fully realized characters,” she says. “A lot of crime shows are not like that.”
New York City is the perfect backdrop for these searching themes, and also allows for ethnic diversity within the cast. “You get to see something that’s very representational of New York City, and really of America, and the world,” Sikora points out. Agboh even designed the nightclub, which serves as the series’ central location, to be a microcosm of the entire city.
For Jackson, the biggest challenge of executive producing has been getting all of the moving parts, from the network and production sides working together on the same page. But he clearly believes in the success of “Power.” “I’ve watched every single episode behind each other,” he says. “The first sign that a show is a hit is when [it gets] better as it goes — and it completely does.”