Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Something of an Irish variation on The Sopranos with a considerably younger cast, NBC's weekly, hour-long The Black Donnellys was reportedly inspired on the exploits of an actual family (also named Donnelly) who were involved in a notoriously bloody fued in the Ontario of the 1880s. The TV series, however, was set in the present, and took place in the Hell's Kitchen district of New York City, specifically a patch of territory controlled by four tough young Irish-Americans with mob connections. The eldest of the four Donnelly brothers was the hotheaded, antagonistic Jimmy (Thomas Guiry), the leader of the gang and owner of the bar where the family all hung out. Jimmy's second-in-command was his brother Tommy (Jonathan Tucker), a former art student who occasionally suffered pangs of conscience over the Donnelly's dubious ethics and business practices. The third brother, Kevin (Bill Lush), was a compulsive gambler, while youngest brother Sean (Michael Stahl-David) was a weak-willed ladies' man. The series was narrated by family friend Joey "Ice Cream" (Keith Nobbs), a combination hatchet man and court jester. Created by the same people responsible for the Oscar-winning feature films Million Dollar Baby and Crash, The Black Donnellys debuted February 19, 2007, as a ten-week replacement for the floundering NBC dramedy Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.