Public Morals is a new television series on TNT created and starring Edward Burns. Burns plays Terry Muldoon, a plain clothes cop who is in the Public Morals department. This department takes care of vice in 1960’s New York City, mainly in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. The Muldoon family is on both sides of the law,Terry’s father played by Peter Gerety, is a retired cop while his uncle, Mr. O played by Timothy Hutton is a small time gangster. When Mr. O is shot dead at the end of the first episode, Terry does his best to find the killer and keep the peace between the police and the gangsters battling each other for control of the vice trade.
Some of my favorite characters in the series are:
Charlie Bullman: Played by Michael Rapaport, Charlie has a soft spot for beautiful prostitutes and is a single father living with his mother. Charlie has more than a passing resemblance to a young Popeye Doyle.
Christine Muldoon: Played by Elizabeth Masucci is Terry’s wife. She wants to get out of the old neighborhood and move to the suburbs to live her middle-class dreams. Terry is loyal to the old neighborhood, but wants to keep his wife happy.
Fortune: Played by Katrina Bowden, is a high-class prostitute with a heart of gold or is she the femme fatale that has not shown all her true colors yet?
Joe Patton: Played by Brian Dennehy. Patton is the Irish Mafia Godfather for New York.
Rusty Patton: Played by Neal McDonough is Joe’s son, who is ready to take over for his father and doesn’t mind using violence to get there.
This series has many other great characters and though the series is only 10 episodes long so far, it is very complex and has some great options for story-lines for upcoming seasons. The fine line of corrupt cops doing what they do to keep things under control and not be to corrupt is an interesting plot device. Are they really on the take to keep vice inline in the city or are they just money hungry men, not any better than the crooks they try to bust?
I really enjoyed this first season and think fans of neo-noir will enjoy it too. This one seems to have flown under the radar, but here is hoping that it gets picked up for a second season.