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Tune in to "American Gangster"

OK, maybe watching last-minute host T-Pain struggle through BET's Hip Hop Awards without his vocoder might not be your cup of tea.

So skip that show and tune in tonight at 10pm to watch the first episode in season 3 of "American Gangster," narrated by actor Ving Rhames. It's one of the best things on the network, typically well-produced without glorifying the criminals, but instead presenting context and balance. If the gangster is still alive, and not in witness protection, you get to see the mix of bravado, smarts and hubris that led to the fall, and the perspective that comes from a long prison stint.

I haven't seen tonight's episode, but it tells the Larry Davis story. Davis became a kind of anti-hero in the South Bronx after he wounded six NYC police officers in a shootout when they came to arrest him on charges of murdering five drug dealers. Davis maintained at trial that he had been recruited by corrupt police to deal drugs and that the raid was actually a murder attempt to silence him. The cast of characters in this case include radical lawyer William Kunstler, and there's a final twist that raises more questions.

It's worth checking out. BET is on channel 52 in the Triangle.


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