Let’s just establish that we’re on the same page: Giancarlo Esposito is an American treasure, and that cannot be disputed in any way shape or form. Though he’s been nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Breaking Bad and its spin-off Better Caul Saul, he’s never won the Emmy, a crime his always-impressed admirers surely hope will be remedied in the near future. This scene, from Sunday’s episode of Epix’s Godfather of Harlem, might be another one to add into his very large file of dope scenes.
In it, Esposito — playing the legendary and sometimes controversial pastor-turned-New York Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., who projected an upstanding, civic-minded persona to the outside world while in private he got his hands dirty while ascending up the New York City food chain — is talking with an aide about agenda items for the day, including negotiations with John F. Kennedy and managing local street politics in Harlem.
You can see that the aide is trying to steer him away from Harlem crime boss Bumpy Johnson, played by Forest Whitaker on the show, but in a way only Esposito can, he makes it known that he knows exactly what he signed up for — and that includes being wiling to lie down with dogs.
Godfather of Harlem airs Sundays at 9/8c on Epix.