The Black Donnellys is a return to form for Paul Haggis, the show's creator and executive producer. The lead characters are four Irish-American brothers in New York's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. Police, unions, and mob families interact in complex ways that recalls Haggis' short-lived television masterpiece EZ Streets. In The Black Donnellys, Haggis creates an engaging story of family loyalty, desperation, sacrifice and redemption. The Donnellys' world is not as dark and desperate as the unnamed rust belt city of EZ Streets, but the Donnellys are nonetheless bound by history to a path filled with conflict and drama. I found the story believable and engaging. The twists of the story reinforced the character development. Few shows manage such deft intertwining of plot and character. Most must either be characterized as plot-driven or character-driven. The Black Donnellys uses both artistic barrels, with stunning accuracy.
Based on the series Pilot, The Black Donnellys is highly recommended. NBC has a full order of 13 episodes. (The pilot is available through Netflix before the television premier scheduled for March 5, 2007 @ 10:00 PM Eastern, 9:00 PM Central.)