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Show Me a Hero

Show Me a Hero

Photo Credit:  Paul Schiraldi/courtesy of HBO
  • Premiered: 
    August 16, 2015
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: HBO
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Drama
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
    Based on the 1999 book (Show Me a Hero) by Lisa Belkin 
  • Subject Matter: Political
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Plot Synopsis

Based on the nonfiction book by Lisa Belkin, the miniseries explores notions of home, race and community through the lives of elected officials, bureaucrats, activists and ordinary citizens in Yonkers, NY. In an America generations removed from the greatest civil rights struggles of the 1960s, the young mayor of a mid-sized American city is faced with a federal court order that says he must build a small number of low-income housing units in the white neighborhoods of his town. His attempt to do so tears the entire city apart, paralyzes the municipal government and, ultimately, destroys the mayor and his political future. In the late 1980s, when Yonkers, a city of 200,000 located just north of The Bronx and nearly 80% white, was suddenly confronted by a politically unpopular reality. A lawsuit undertaken by the U.S. Justice Department and the NAACP had proven definitively that Yonkers officials had used federal housing funds to purposely segregate the city for decades, and while elected officials vowed to appeal that ruling, even the city's own lawyers saw little chance it could be overturned on the merits. The remedy for the civil rights violations is simple, but politically fraught: Yonkers must build 200 units of low-income housing somewhere on the white side of the Saw Mill River Parkway in East Yonkers, followed by another 800 units of affordable housing. A committed housing expert, Oscar Newman is determined to use a new philosophy of public housing to avoid the high-rise projects and slum conditions of previous generations, and Yonkers housing commissioner Peter Smith and housing consultant Robert Mayhawk stand ready to help him. But before they can do so, Yonkers officials must name the sites on which the new townhouses can be built. Their attempts bring only rage from white residents who are determined to protect their own property values and stop the public housing at all costs. Nick Wasicsko, a young councilman, initially sides with the residents and uses that position to defeat the incumbent mayor, but the electoral result doesn't make the outcome of the court case any less inevitable for Yonkers. Wasicsko and his young wife, Nay, a city employee, are battered by the maelstrom that results, and ultimately, their lives are changed forever. Slowly and inexorably, the townhomes begin to go up and the residents who will have to cross the Yonkers color line are chosen. From David Simon and Paul Haggis, SHOW ME A HERO premieres its first two parts back-to-back on Sunday, August 16, 2015 from 8-10pm ET/PT on HBO, followed by two parts on both of the subsequent Sundays -- August 23 & 30 -- at the same time.
HBO premiered the finale of SHOW ME A HERO from 8-10:10pm on Sunday, August 30, 2015. A comprehensive orientation process awaits the incoming residents, and many have second thoughts about moving into neighborhoods that don't welcome them. At the same time, Mary Dorman, long a vocal opponent of the housing, is recruited to serve the incoming residents in a way that even she finds startling. Meanwhile, Nick Wasicsko begins the long road back to political viability, even as the residents take possession of their new townhomes. But in the end, a second act for the wounded young politician proves elusive.



  • - Yonkers, New York USA