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'Mob City' Behind-the-Scenes Sneak: Frank Darabont Brings 'Pure Noir' to the Small Screen

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The glitz and glam of 1940s Hollywood sound decadent and seductive, but for some, the reality of Los Angeles at that time was anything but. That's the world Frank Darabont ("The Walking Dead") is exploring in TNT's new crime drama "Mob City."

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"The actual sort of pure noir story is not something people get all that often nowadays. We wanted to bring it back, " Darabont says in this exclusive behind-the-scenes sneak peek at the series, which explores the seedy underbelly of mid 20th-century L.A., complete with gangsters and violent crime. "We wanted to make noir sexy again, where the men are corrupt and the women are sullied, and we're not. And I love stories like that. I just love 'em."

"This city is so damn beautiful," says Joe Teague (played by Jon Bernthal) — the morally confused lead character and "noir hero," as Darabont puts it — while gazing down on L.A. after dark in a scene from the drama, "but only from a distance. Up close, it's all gutter."

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Alexa Davalos, who plays Jasmine Fountain, dishes on what sold her on "Mob City": "That was an incredible time in Los Angeles. The history of L.A. at that time has always fascinated me, and Frank has an incredible way with those words of that time, and the rhythm, and the way people spoke to each other, and the dynamics between men and women, specifically. … It's not your average gangster show. There's a lot of heart in this show. These are characters that we can relate to, that we root for and hate, and love to hate, and love to love. And Frank is just an endless wishing well for this kind of material."

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Bernthal is also singing Darabont's praises: "At the end of the day, you're buying into Frank Darabont's storytelling. I mean, I'll throw that up there against anybody. He gave you 'Shawshank Redemption.' He gave you 'The Walking Dead.' That is, to me, the draw."

"Mob City" premieres Monday, Dec. 4 at 9 p.m. on TNT.

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