Tupac and Biggie are still heard in ‘Nobody Talks’


Spoiler Alert: this article contains a thorough recap of “Nobody Talks,” the second episode of “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.”

“Nobody Talks” shows how difficult it is to solve extremely complex homicides when nobody will discuss their knowledge of the incidents. Suge Knight (Dominic L. Santana), and everybody associated with Death Row Records, refuses to speak with Las Vegas investigators about Tupac’s (Marcc Rose) execution on September 7, 1996. Detective Russell Poole (Jimmi Simpson) pleads with his lieutenant, Paul Larson (Michael Harney), to allow him to visit Sin City. Larson relents and sends Poole and his partner, Detective Fred Miller (Jamie McShane), to venture to the desert.

This scene is captivating because Larson is clearly jaded by the bureaucratic restraints that he’s become accustomed to. However, Larson wants to solve Biggie’s slaying and he’s willing to accept backlash from his superiors to increase the likelihood that this happens. Poole and Miller appreciate Larson’s support and seem to understand the precarious position he’s in. Simpson does a standout job of portraying Poole.

Poole is a workaholic who is utterly obsessed with uncovering the truth about the demises of Tupac and Biggie. His obsession hinders his career and relationships with friends, family and colleagues. Although frequently via dialogue, Simpson’s facial expressions and body language also speak volumes. In stark contrast to Poole, Miller is levelheaded and realizes the importance of chain of command and creating a healthy work-life balance. McShane expertly represents Miller as a likable, lighthearted man and he is the perfect foil to Poole.

Meanwhile, in 2006, Detective Greg Kading (Josh Duhamel) is assembling his task force to probe Biggie’s murder. One of Kading’s underlings, Lee Tucker (Wendell Pierce), immediately takes umbrage with his boss’ methods. Tucker is staunchly opposed to coddling anyone with potential links to Biggie’s death and he’s borderline insubordinate. Pierce, who famously depicted Bunk Moreland in “The Wire,” brings tremendous intensity to every scene. Despite being a headache, Tucker is a competent investigator who seems destined to play a vital role in the renewed case.

This episode concludes with Tupac telling a shocked Biggie (Wavyy Jonez) that he’s going to take a cross-country flight from Los Angeles to Brooklyn to meet him the following day. As noted in a previous article, it’s impossible to overstate how much Rose resembles Tupac and Jonez mirrors Biggie. Thanks to the characters’ looks, mannerisms and traits, this show periodically feels like a documentary. Moreover, for a second consecutive week, director and producer Anthony Hemingway deserves kudos for cleverly organizing the show’s alternating timelines and nonlinear subplots. While it’s frustrating that nobody talks in “Nobody Talks,” the USA Network’s anthology crime series remains gripping television.