Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Thursday, Mar. 27, 2014 – 10:29 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, Mar. 27, 2014 – 11:22 pm

The business of crime has become a staple of cable television drama in recent years.

“The Sopranos,” depicting the lives of a Mafia family in New Jersey, set the tone – organized crime is a business.

Yes, the trade may be in women, drugs, bootleg liquor, gambling, untaxed cigarettes, dirty money, weapons or murder-for-hire, but fundamentally, it is about the logistics and profit margins of meeting customers’ demands for services and goods.

Other shows followed the theme, such as “The Wire,” set in Baltimore; “Boardwalk Empire,” about prohibition-era Atlantic City; “Deadwood,” depicting life and crime during the town’s 19th-century gold rush; and, currently, “Justified,” populated with criminal clans in backwoods Kentucky.

Each, too, has included a political element – organized criminals’ need for pliant politicians.

But none of them, interestingly, has been set in California. Filmdom’s interest in California’s organized crime has largely been confined to the Mafia’s efforts to penetrate Los Angeles in the late 1940s, thwarted by legendary Police Chief William Parker.

That attitude has bolstered the popular assumption that while other locales, including neighboring Nevada and Arizona, may have had organized crime, California has been relatively untainted.

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