Riding shotgun through the gritty streets of Los Angeles seems like the premise for a new action film, but it’s not. Instead it’s the basis for the new A&E reality show, “The Peacemaker: L.A. Gang Wars.”
“The Peacemaker” follows Malik Spellman, a New York-born gang mediator, as he traverses the streets of L.A., squashing beef between rival crews.
Spellman is not just some outsider looking to turn other people’s pain into must-see TV, he’s lived the life of those he tries to help. After relocating from Queens, NY to a gang-infested neighborhood in the height of L.A.’s gang boom, Spellman found himself in trouble with the law. But now that he’s turned his life around, he’s looking to help others.
In the first episode, Spellman tells viewers just how important his job is. “If I waste a day or even an hour, that’s enough time for a battle to start,” Spellman waxes.
Los Angeles is an intriguing place to situate this type of reality show. Not only is it the birthplace of infamous street gangs such as the Crips and the Bloods, L.A. is said to be home to nearly 250 different street gangs. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, “During the last five years, there were over 23,000 verified violent gang crimes in the City of Los Angeles. These include 784 homicides, nearly 12,000 felony assaults, approximately 10,000 robberies and just under 500 rapes.”
Given these grim stats, Spellman’s job—to deescalate violent situations between gangs—is all the more necessary.
“The Peacemaker,” which airs this Thursday night on A&E, is produced by rapper-turned-actor, Ice-T.