(The Root) — If you appreciate TV dramas like Mad Men and The Wire, which challenge you to keep up with weaving plotlines, then Boss should definitely be on your radar. A political drama created and written by Farhad Safinia and airing on the Starz network, the series centers on Mayor Tom Kane’s (Kelsey Grammer) quest to maintain political power in Chicago as he’s confronted with his quickly deteriorating health.
Season 1 introduced viewers to a web of intrigue involving the city’s players — scheming aldermen, cutthroat politicians, community activists, sneaky journalists — in pursuit of power. The second season, which kicked off a few weeks ago, has more plot twists and complicated characters than one can count.
Check out the seven reasons why you should be watching Boss:
Kelsey Grammer. The former Frasier star delivers an award-worthy performance every week. Thanks to strong writing and direction, viewers get to watch Mayor Kane unravel, compose himself and then take out his anger on unsuspecting rivals. Kane will throw anyone under the bus for political gain, not sparing his wife, child or adviser of 30 years. It is awesome to watch Grammer morph in and out of the monsters that consume him: greed and power. Find out why Grammer took home the 2012 Golden Globe for best actor in a drama series.
A great ensemble cast. While Mayor Kane is the lead character around which the stories unfold, Boss is truly an ensemble show, with interesting characters and strong performances from supporting cast members such as Connie Nielsen, who plays the mayor’s wife, Meredith Kane; and Martin Donovan, who plays Ezra Stone, the mayor’s double-dealing confidant who “lives” by the rules that he makes. Kathleen Robinson (ER) plays Kitty, an intelligent and driven aide who hasn’t quite figured out her allegiances. Relative newcomer James Vincent Meredith, who stars as Alderman Ross, brings grit to the table, learning that he doesn’t have the power he thinks he has in politics or his personal life.
Add Hannah Ware as Emma Kane, the mayor’s naive and reclusive daughter, and recent Northwestern graduate Rotimi, who portrays Darius Robinson, a wannabe gangster who is way too gentle for the streets or politics, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a cast.
Sanaa Lathan and Clifford “T.I.” Harris. As if the cast weren’t already strong enough, there is the new crusading community activist Mona Fredericks (Sanaa Lathan) who talks a tough game but is as hungry for power and acceptance as the others. Rapper T.I. plays the role of Trey, a reformed gangster, whom we met in the first season. Trey clearly has eyes on City Hall and is the actual gangster Darius wishes he could be. Lathan and T.I. deliver powerful performances and add dimension to a show that could easily implode with so many characters and storylines.