David Simon Says: ‘Show Me a Hero’ and I’ll Write You a Tragedy

Actor Oscar Isaac and writer David Simon on the set of Show Me a Hero, which premieres Aug. 16 on HBO. (Paul Schiraldi/HBO)
Actor Oscar Isaac and writer David Simon on the set of “Show Me a Hero,” which premieres Aug. 16 on HBO. (Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

(The Root) – We didn’t know early on that David Simon was making honest television. Even the idea of it sounds like a lark. But David Simon has been teaching us all along how to watch David Simon. And maybe we weren’t ready for the truth to be shown to us in the dream box with landscapes that look a lot like home, filled with people who look a lot like cousins or co-workers. Maybe we didn’t want to admit it to ourselves: that our worlds aren’t just the ones we inhabit but the ones we ignore.

The creator of The Wire and Treme—both slow burns that turned into wildfires shortly after they went off the air—is back with his newest offering, Show Me a Hero, a six-part miniseries starring Oscar Isaac and Winona Ryder and directed by Paul Haggis, which premieres Aug. 16 on HBO.

Hero, which is based on Lisa Belkin’s 1999 nonfiction book of the same name, offers an elongated stare at race relations in Yonkers, N.Y., during a push to end housing segregation in the late 1980s and early ’90s. And while the climate seems ripe for a study in race, given that the backdrop of America is still cloudy with the tear gas smoke of Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, Simon assures us that the true sadness of the story is that it remains so relevant today even though he pitched the idea to HBO execs some 14 years ago.


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