A fictional television series about gangs and cops in Hartford is scheduled to air in the fall of 2012, according to the show's creator, Hartford Police Officer Mark Manson.
Manson said the show, "The Second District," landed a syndication deal that will bring the series to majors cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas and, of course, Hartford.
"So it's looking good. We have a huge response. The syndication deal is in place, all we have to do is deliver," said Manson.
A Tribune Broadcasting spokesperson said the show will air on one of its stations in Connecticut, which include Fox CT and WCCT.
The idea for the show came together several years ago after Manson met a career criminal named Felix Soto on the job. Manson didn't like criminals and Soto wasn't keen on cops. But the two had one thing in common – they felt crime dramas on television were unrealistic.
Together, they created what they believe is a more realistic show. "The Second District" is based on their knowledge of gangs and police in Hartford.
Among the characters is "Sin," a high-ranking member of a gang responsible for a majority of the city's shootings and drug trafficking. He develops a relationship with a patrol officer and eventually becomes an informant.
A 30-minute pilot episode – showing scenes from Hartford, gun violence, and power struggles within the police department – was shot in July 2010 and was used to sell the show. The pilot was dubbed "Best Urban Short" at this year's New York International Film Festival and received honorable mention at a film festival in Russia, Manson said.
Filming for the first 10-episode season is scheduled to begin in April. Manson said five episodes should be done by July.
A Hartford police officer since 1998, Manson said he plans on juggling his career as a police officer and his new role as executive producer of the show.
"I normally work second shift and with my days off, I can scheduled around what I need to do," he said.
In addition to being a window into crime and crime-fighting in the city, Manson said he wants the show to feature local talent. A majority of the staff who worked on the pilot were from Hartford and surrounding areas. He hopes to hire most of them back to work on the first the season.
"I hope to create a few Connecticut stars. I know I can do it because I know that [the talent] is there," he said.