THE SLOW HUSTLE, a feature documentary directed by Sonja Sohn (HBO’s “Baltimore Rising”, “The Wire”), chronicles the still unsolved death of Baltimore police detective Sean Suiter, fatally shot in the head in 2017 while in the line of duty, and explores the ongoing speculation about what really happened that day. With candid interviews from members of the Baltimore P.D., Suiter’s widow and children, journalists committed to uncovering the truth, lawyers and political leaders, THE SLOW HUSTLE examines the continuing mystery surrounding Suiter’s death and the multiple theories that emerge in the investigation of the case, including that Suiter’s death was a calculated murder hit or a suicide. Ultimately, the journey reveals how the culture of corruption within the ranks of the Baltimore police force contributed to the destruction of the public’s trust and impacted the police department’s ability to solve a shooting death of one of its own. The unsolved case also sparked far-reaching implications for a city already grappling with the complexities of policing in contemporary, urban America.
THE SLOW HUSTLE debuts TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7(8:00-9:30 p.m. ET/PT). The film will debut on HBO and be available to stream on HBO Max.
THE SLOW HUSTLE follows Detective Suitor’s widow and local investigative reporters as they work to get answers in the Suiter case and hold the Baltimore Police Department and City Hall accountable. The conflicting theories on his death speak to stark divisions between the involved parties – an independent review board ruled his death a suicide, a theory that the Suiter family strongly resists. As new evidence emerges, the mystery deepens. It is revealed that Suiter had been summoned to testify in the now infamous Gun Trace Task Force trial, an elite police unit that proved to be one of the dirtiest in Baltimore’s recent history. Was his death a calculated effort to keep him silent, or was Suiter himself a cop under scrutiny with a past he couldn’t face?
THE SLOW HUSTLE includes insightful commentary from journalists who remain determined to speak truth to power, including Justin Fenton, author of “We Own This City: A True Story of Crime,” “Cops and Corruption” and D. Watkins, author of “We Speak for Ourselves: How Woke Culture Prohibits Progress” who believes the shooting death of Suiter could have been an inside job. Former members of the Baltimore Police Department, from internal affairs to the former commissioner, attempt to shed light on that fateful afternoon and the atmosphere within the department. Maryland State Senator Jill P. Carter helps contextualize some of the social and political misdeeds that have led to an environment that so easily breeds institutional misconduct.
At the center of it all lies a fallen officer and the complexities of life in one of the most investigated police departments in the country, where impropriety appears to penetrate a broken system at every level. In a heightened atmosphere of distrust between disenfranchised communities and the police, THE SLOW HUSTLE brings to light the challenges of uncovering the truth and highlights the devastating fallout on ordinary citizens and police officers alike.
Actor, filmmaker and activist Sonja Sohn is the founder and CEO of the Baltimore-based reWIRED for Change, an outreach program for at-risk youth inspired by her six seasons appearing on HBO’s “The Wire”. Her first feature documentary “Baltimore Rising” portrayed the city in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death and THE SLOW HUSTLE continues her work focusing on Baltimore and its inherent racial and socio-economic problems.
HBO Documentary Films’ presents A Blowback Production THE SLOW HUSTLE director and producer, Sonja Sohn; executive producers, Marc Levin, Kary Antholis, Sonja Sohn; supervising producer, Daphne Pinkerson; producer, Mahrya MacIntire. For HBO: senior producer, Sara Rodriguez; executive producers, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller.
THE SLOW HUSTLE is included in a collection of four gripping documentary titles that debut on Tuesdays, beginning November 23. Exploring crime-related stories and the issues surrounding them, the anthology includes:
- BLACK AND MISSING (November 23 & 24), a four-part series following sisters-in-law Derrica Wilson and Natalie Wilson as they strive to locate people of color who are missing by bringing awareness to their cases, which have often been marginalized by law enforcement and traditional media. Directed by Geeta Gandbhir, Samantha Knowles, Nadia Hallgren and Yoruba Richen.
- LIFE OF CRIME: 1984-2020 (November 30), an intimate verite documentary that spans 36 years in the lives of three friends from Newark and captures the highs and lows of the vicious cycles of drug addiction and street crime in one of the roughest parts of New Jersey. Directed by Jon Alpert.
- THE MURDERS AT STARVED ROCK (December 14 and 15), a three-part documentary series exploring the 1960 brutal murders of three women in Starved Rock State Park in LaSalle County, Illinois, and the decades of questions and doubts that have haunted the son of the prosecutor in the case, as the man found guilty seeks to clear his name after sixty years in prison. Directed by Jody McVeigh-Schultz.