The Black Donnellys is an American television drama that debuted on NBC on February 26, 2007 and last aired on April 2, 2007. Thereafter, NBC began releasing new episodes weekly on NBC.com until the series was officially canceled. The Black Donnellys was created by Paul Haggis and Robert Moresco. Cast members include Jonathan Tucker, Olivia Wilde, Billy Lush, Tom Guiry and Kirk Acevedo with relative newcomers Michael Stahl-David and Keith Nobbs.
The series follows four young Roman Catholic Irish-American brothers in New York City's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood and their involvement with petty and organized crime. Set in the present day, the show draws heavily upon Irish-American history and iconic themes. The pilot episode illustrates a clear tension and rivalry between the Irish and the Italians. The episodes are narrated by a childhood friend, Joey "Ice Cream", whom the show depicts as an unreliable narrator. In creating the show, Haggis, a native of London, Ontario, strongly referenced his hometown's local history about the real-life Black Donnellys and the massacre associated with their name. In the pilot episode, Joey says that the neighborhood is populated primarily by "Black Irish", whom he calls "a race of dark-haired people" that the Celts had failed to wipe out in Ireland. Hell's Kitchen in the series is also a fairly faithful depiction - a traditionally working-class neighborhood with a deeply entrenched ethnic Irish population and an Irish Mob with control over illegal gambling, loansharking, and heavy involvement in the unions. Although set in 2005, Hell's Kitchen is shown to be slowly overtaken by gentrification and development that threatens to displace the Irish population, a fate that Hell's Kitchen actually succumbed to in the early 1990s.See more