USA Network announced today a pick-up for the anthology series Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. The scripted true crime series, from Universal Cable Productions, chronicles the two major police investigations into the murders of rappers Tupac Shakur (2Pac) and The Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher Wallace and also known as Biggie Smalls) during the infamous East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry of the 1990s.
Both men were fatally shot -- Shakur in 1996 and Wallace in 1997 -- by unknown assailants during drive-by shootings, and their murders were investigated by then-LAPD Det. Greg Kading, who will be played by Josh Duhamel (Battle Creek, Las Vegas). Kading, who will serve as an executive producer on the series, authored the book Murder Rap: The Untold Story of Biggie Smalls & Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations.
L-R: Josh Duhamel, Jimmi Simpson & Bokeem Woodbine
In the role of poet, actor, and legendary rapper Tupac is Marcc Rose, who also played the icon in F. Gary Gray's 2015 film Straight Outta Compton. Wavyy Jonez will make his acting debut as Biggie Smalls, and was discovered during a nationwide open casting call with a video audition that captured the attention of casting directors and Unsolved's pilot director, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Anthony Hemingway (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story), who will serve as executive producer alongside Mark Taylor through their Hemingway | Taylor production company.
Left: Jamie McShane; Right: Brent Sexton
USA also announced Friday that Jamie McShane (Bloodline) is taking on the role of Det. Fred Miller, the partner of lead investigator Russell Poole (portrayed by Westwood star Jimmi Simpson, previously announced) in the 1997 open case. Brent Sexton (The Killing) will play Det. Brian Tyndall, a robbery homicide detective who worked with Poole in 1997 and Greg Kading in the 2006 reopening of the investigation. Emmy nominee Bokeem Woodbine (Fargo, Southland) will portray Officer Daryn Dupree, who became a key member of Kading’s 2006 task force due to his deep knowledge of L.A. gangs and the rap industry.
Left: Sean Puffy Combs; Right: Luke James
Additional cast members include two-time Grammy nominee Luke James as Sean “Puffy” Combs, Aisha Hinds as Voletta Wallace (the mother of Biggie Smalls), and Letoya Luckett as Sharitha Golden, the estranged wife of Suge Knight.
Left: Aisha Hinds; Right: Letoya Luckett
Kyle Long (Suits) will serve as the executive producer, creator, and writer on the series. Unsolved is expected to air on USA Network in the first quarter of 2018.