Godfather of Harlem is the new "based on a true story" series to add to your watch list.

Christmas has well and truly come early for gritty true crime lovers.

Godfather of Harlem is the upcoming new Stan drama you’re going to want to add to your watch list and like all other juicy current TV offerings, it’s actually based on a series of true events.

The upcoming ten-part series will star Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker as the notorious and famously feared 60’s crime boss Bumpy Johnson.

Bumpy Johnson, whose real name was Ellsworth Raymond Johnson but was nicknamed ‘bumpy’ due to the bumps on the back of his head, was a famed American mob boss and bookmaker who took up residence in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood.

During his illustrious criminal career, it was reported that Johnson was arrested more than 40 times. He eventually went on to serve two prison terms for narcotics-related charges and then in December 1965 he staged a sit-down strike in a police station as a protest against their continued surveillance.

Take a look at the trailer for Godfather of Harlem, coming only to Stan.


The Godfather of Harlem TV narrative will see Bumpy Johnson return home from prison after serving a ten-year sentence in the early 1960s. His homecoming, however, is not at all what he expected after he discovers the neighborhood he once easily ruled over is now in complete disarray and shambles.

The streets of Harlem are now controlled by an Italian mob and as Bumpy is forced to take on the Genovese crime family the battle in the streets turns brutal. He is then forced to form an alliance with a radical local preacher named Malcolm X (played by Nigel Thatch).

The ensuing mob war between the opposing sides becomes messily intertwined with Malcolm’s fast-paced political rise, which then leads to a threatening storyline of social upheaval.

Stan has billed Godfather of Harlem as “a collision of the criminal underworld and the civil rights movement during one of the most tumultuous times in American history.”

Godfather of Harlem is the next prestige TV offering to grace our screens in 2019, especially considering the first episode of the series was directed by Academy Award winner John Ridley, who is known for his work on 12 Years a Slave.

Also co-starring in the series is Australian actress Lucy Fry (best know for the Stan series Wolf Creek),  Giancarlo Esposito (Better Call Saul), Vincent D’Onofrio (Law & Order: Criminal Intent), Ilfenesh Hadera (Billions) and Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas).

Godfather of Harlem premieres 1 October and is available only on Stan.

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