'Guerrilla' Won't Take Long To Tell A Powerful Story

by Kayla Hawkins

The go-to format for a great story right now is TV, and a short season on cable is as prestigious as any Oscar-worthy drama. Showtime's latest addition into the prestige TV category is Guerrilla, a series from American Crime creator John Ridley. It costars Idris Elba as one of the members of the '70s-era Black Power movement in the UK. How many episodes is Guerrilla? According to Showtime, the miniseries will have six parts, which is just long enough to tell a more complex story than a two-hour movie, but short enough to not overstay its welcome.

Six episodes might seem short, but after a seven-episode miniseries like Big Little Lies made such huge impression, the brevity makes a lot of sense. Plus, the series was produced in Britain, which generally relies on shorter TV seasons. So the show should be prepared to deliver a full, complete story within its month and a half airtime.

So: what will those six episodes include? Well, Idris Elba may be the biggest nam in the cast, but he's playing a supporting role — an activist named Kent. Kent and the other members of this resistance movement are fighting for Black Liberation, including better access to education and employment, an end to police abuse and brutality, and equality under the law for all Black British people and all British people of color.

Multiple episodes will give the show a chance to build up the characters' struggles, as the trailer suggests they will begin as hopeful young students, driven to destroy the system once they realize the limits of how unfair it is. Things then escalate as the protagonists, Marcus and Jas (Babou Ceesay and Freida Pinto) break Elba's character out of jail, and ultimately set their sights on destroying the Black Power Desk, which was a real initiative in the British government that was meant to quash all Black Power organizations. And in order to up the stakes even further, the series is making a big change — adding armed resistance to the scope of the British Black Power party.

As Neil Kenlock, the self-proclaimed photographer of British Black Power, told The Independent, "The American Constitution allows people to carry guns, so they were policing the police. [...] What we were about was seeking better education and jobs, and making sure the police treated us fairly. It was just the name and the culture that was adopted."


Guerrilla has only six episodes to tells its story. Bthe characters will have their own weapons, mixing the American and British movements to tell a new and unpredictable story.