A documentary film profiling Baltimore’s police department in the wake of Detective Sean Suiter’s on-duty death is set to hit television and streaming services next month.
Premiering Dec. 7 on HBO and its streaming service, HBOMax, “The Slow Hustle” aims to provide an inside look at the Baltimore Police Department by exploring Suiter’s “mysterious” death and telling the story of the journalists, family members and activists who sought answers in the aftermath.
Actor and filmmaker Sonja Sohn, known to most for her role as Baltimore Police Detective Kima Greggs on HBO’s “The Wire,” directed the production.
Suiter died Nov. 15, 2017, after he was shot in the head while on duty in West Baltimore. His death came one day before he was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury investigating a 2010 drug-planting incident, part of a police corruption probe.
Police believe Suiter was killed with his service weapon and came to the conclusion that he died by suicide. An outside panel of experts and then a Maryland State Police review supported the Baltimore Police Department’s position. Suiter’s family rejects that he took his own life.
The HBO film follows Suiter’s widow and children as they attempt to hold to account police officials and politicians, according to a film synopsis. Also shown in the film are journalists D. Watkins and Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton, whose book “We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops, and Corruption,” served as inspiration for the upcoming HBO show “We Own This City.”
“The Slow Hustle” features cameos from former Baltimore police officers, “from internal affairs to top brass,” according to the synopsis. State Sen. Jill P. Carter, a Democrat who represents Baltimore in the General Assembly, “helps contextualize some of the social and political misdeeds” that provided a framework for an environment conducive to institutional misconduct, it says.
While laying out conflicting theories about Suiter’s death, the synopsis states, the film creates “a dizzying portrait of the human challenges of modern policing in the age of rising violent crime.”
Sohn’s latest work reunites the team behind her first foray into documentary filmmaking, “Baltimore Rising,” which highlighted efforts to hold the city together following the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray resulting from injuries he suffered in police custody. Included among the group from Sohn’s first documentary are producers Marc Levin and Daphne Pinkerson, according to the synopsis.