Hip-Hop

'Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.' Episodes 5 & 6: Beef Intensifies Between Bad Boy and Death Row

UNSOLVED: THE MURDERS OF TUPAC AND THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.
 Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network

Wavyy Jonez as Christopher "Biggie" Wallace in episode 6 of Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. 

Episode 5 of Unsolved opens through Tupac’s hazy eyes as he comes to consciousness in the hospital after being shot in NYC’s Quad Studios in 1994. After being assured that he will make a full recovery by doctors, he’s greeted by his mother Afeni (Sola Bamis) who asks: “Do you know who did this?” Flashbacks show Puff, Jimmy and regrettably Biggie – all of whom cross Pac’s mind as his potential hitmen.

Things get even worse for Pac as he proceeds to get convicted of the sexual abuse charges laid against him from Ayanna Jackson. He’s wheeled out of the courtroom and into prison, and despite getting love from other inmates; he’s put in isolated protective custody due to his celebrity status. The silence that fills the room when the cell door slams shut is utterly deafening, as you can feel Pac’s normally proud spirit dwindle.

Fast forward to 1998, detective Poole who is now firmly off the Biggie case, is assigned to another case in which a dirty cop has been accused of stealing confiscated cocaine from the evidence facility. After connecting a few dots between all the LAPD’s dirty cops, Poole is led to believe once again that Death Row Records was closely intertwined with (and protected by) a plethora of crooked police officers.

The case files that Kading and his task force rummaged through lead them to another convicted informant, Michael Dorrough (Kareem J. Grimes). They work out a deal to transfer Dorrough to the prison where his father is serving life, and in exchange, the informant divulges that “Suge had Biggie killed," and that it was carried out by Keffe D and the Southside Crips.

The testimony sounded too good to be true, and turns out to be shaky at best. Luckily, a clever look into forensics from guns seized around the the time of Biggie and Pac’s murders brings the task force back on track. Headway is also made back in 1998, where Poole and the LAPD start cracking down on the crooked cops allegedly tied to Death Row Records. They arrest their own officer Rafael Pérez for stealing that confiscated cocaine, which is quickly followed up by an offer of immunity -- in return for telling the LAPD “everything.”

The beginning of episode six opens as Suge Knight makes his infamous speech at the1995 Source Awards. While accepting the best original motion picture soundtrack award for Death Row’s work on Above the Rim, he takes some sot-so-subtle shots at Bad Boy and Puff Daddy, urging artists that don’t want a producer “all in the videos, all on the records” to come to Death Row.

2007’s task force also hits a speed bump, as what they believed to be their ballistic breakthrough turns out false, rendering their trip to Las Vegas a disaster. Things go from bad to worse for Kading and the force when one of their best officers, Tim "Blondie" Brennan (Scott Michael Campbell), is needed back at the sheriff’s department and walks out. Days later, Kading is put in front of the LAPD chief of police to debrief on his task force’s concrete findings, which of course, are nothing. Chief William Bratton reminds Kading that Voletta Wallace’s lawsuit could cost the city 400 million dollars, and time is running out.

Simultaneously, Detective Poole debriefs the 1998 chief of police, Bernard Parks, about his findings with Ray Perez and the string of crooked LAPD officers. Poole’s emotions get the best of him as he spills his assumptions about how the corrupt officers were working for Death Row and are covering up Biggie’s murder. Yet again, Poole is reminded he has been removed from the case for a reason – although the determination in his eyes to get to the bottom of Biggie’s murder is more than crystal clear. In an act of desperation, Poole ends up drafting a report titled "Chronology of Christopher Wallace’s Murder aka Biggie Smalls" and giving it to the District Attorney.

The most heart-racing sequence to date in the show takes place in 1995, when Pac is released from prison and none other than Suge Knight is there to pick him up, and officially welcome him to the label with his own Death Row chain. Pac wastes no time hitting to studio to record the infamous “Hit Em Up” diss track, while Biggie reactively retaliates by demanding New Yorkers to side with him. This back and forth leads to Snoop Dogg’s (Skylan Brooks) tour bus being shot up -- no one is injured, but tensions between the two camps remain at an all-time high.

Kading, on the other hand, decides to focus his force onto one man; Keefe D. The Southside Crip, who refuses to talk, runs a car shipping business where kilos of cocaine are stashed stealthily in the wheels. Kading and company manage to apprehend one of his drivers, and successfully flip him to become an informant, in an elaborate plan to trap Keefe into divulging what he knows on Biggie’s murder. The episode wraps with Suge and Tupac threatening Bad Boy promoter Mark Bell (Calvin Tenner) to give up Puffy’s Los Angeles address, so they can carry out what appears to be an assassination. For the first time in the series, Puff seems visibly shook, as he mutters to his assistant, “They want to kill me.”