From its opening moments, it's clear that The Warriors of Liberty City is not your standard-issue football documentary. The players halt their practice when a phalanx of police helicopters passes slowly over the field, drowning out everything until it's gone. "Something going on in the city," shrugs one of the spectators. "Probably somebody got shot. ... In Liberty City, man, this is every day. It's how we live."
Liberty City is about four square miles at the hard-bitten center of Miami. You might remember it as ground zero of a deadly 1980 race riot, touched by the acquittal of a group of cops who beat a black motorcyclist to death for leading them on a high-speed chase. (Final cost: 18 lives, $100 million in damage.) Or you may recall it as one of the rancid urban battlegrounds in the Grand Theft Auto video games.
But in addition to the junkies, muggers, hookers, gang-bangers and punks who populate the Grand Theft Auto games—who, to be sure, are real enough—Liberty City is home to maybe 30,000 people or so just trying to get by, picking their way through the detritus of a mad level of urban dysfunction that's largely not of their making. Television critic Glenn Garvin takes a look at a documentary series about those families.
Photo Credit: 'The Warriors of Liberty City,' Starz