Wunmi Mosaku doesn’t have to do or say anything on screen, and it’s compelling. When you see her in a film or on television, your immediate instinct is to sit up and pay closer attention. For David Simon’s searing, unsettling tale of corruption, We Own This City, Mosaku plays a woman desperate to do her part for police reform.
Mosaku wasn’t familiar with her character, Nicole Steele, when she join the cast. She knew Simon’s reputation and resume, and we discuss her reaction to such rich material. We Own This City could’ve been dense or overly plotted, but no one can do real-life drama like Simon can. There has always been a ferocious intelligence behind all of Mosaku’s performances, and she performs that as much when Nicole is listening to others talk about the lack of equality in the system.
Several characters ask Nicole if she is angry, and as she struggles to get a decree signed, she realizes her answer to that questions evolves. I love the scenes between her and Ian Duff’s Ahmed, a mentor of Nicole’s, and Mosaku tells me how she doesn’t necessarily think her character is an idealist.
We need television like We Own This City to unmask corruption and senseless violence, and Mosaku’s performance is steady, sobering, and curious.
We Own This City is streaming now on HBO Max.