Landesman’s script tells the never-before-told story of a crime syndicate consisting of seven African-American men who ruled Harlem in the 1970s and early ’80s. No ordinary crime syndicate – the men dreamed of a self-sufficient and self-policing African American city-state, funded by revolutionizing the drug game. The movie centers on the Shakespearean court intrigue between The Council’s king, Nicky Barnes, dubbed “Mr. Untouchable” by the New York Times, and all the different members as one unlikely rising protégé emerges.
Barnes, who died in 2012, led an international drug trafficking ring, in partnership with the Italian-American Mafia, until his arrest in 1978. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and eventually became a federal informant.