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Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. is a True Crime series airing on USA Network and starring Josh Duhamel and Bokeem Woodbine.

In 2006, the LAPD is facing public pressure over its continued failure to solve the murder of rapper Biggie Smalls, not helped by lawsuit from former Detective Russell Poole, who has accused the LAPD of shutting down his investigation into the murder in order to protect a crooked cop. In an effort to soothe public anger, the LAPD assigns Detective Greg Kading to head up a new task force to re-open the case. Kading is given an unlimited budget and the discretion to hire anyone he needs, but is forbidden to talk to Poole or use his notes from the case. Kading and his team must start almost from scratch and solve a case that's been cold for almost a decade.


This series contains examples of:

  • Awful Wedded Life: Kading's marriage is on the rocks because of his obsessive devotion to the case. In the penultimate episode, his wife tells him she wants a divorce.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Tupac signs up with Death Row Records because Suge Knight helped him after he went to jail.
  • Bookends: The first episode opens with Biggie stepping out onto his hotel balcony to look out over Los Angeles. The penultimate episode ends with his mother, Vonetta Wallace, stepping out onto the same balcony as she finishes collecting his personal effects from the hotel room.
  • Dirty Cop: As Poole and Miller investigate Biggie's murder, they keep encountering cops who are on the payroll at Death Row Security, which is kind of a problem for them, because Death Row boss Suge Knight is a key suspect in the murder.
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  • The Dreaded: Suge Knight, the head of Death Row Records, is feared by pretty much everybody. One of the tensest moments in the series comes when Kading gets the bright idea to put a tracker on Suge's truck and comes this close to an actual confrontation with Suge himself.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Whatever their other faults, Tupac and Biggie both had close ties to their mothers.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In "Take Your Best Shot", Kading and Dupree are trying to find a potential witness and manage to trace the guy to his daughter's birthday party. Dupree decides to take extra care to make sure that the guy's little girl doesn't witness the sight of her daddy being led away in handcuffs.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The series flashes back and forth between Poole and Miller's investigation in 1997, and the federal task force investigation in 2006. Given that the task force has been convened to prove that the LAPD isn't covering up evidence in the murder of Biggie Smalls, it's safe to assume that the 1997 segments will end in defeat for Poole and Miller. Given that the murders of Biggie and Tupac remain unsolved to this day, it can also be assumed that the 2006 investigation will also fail.
  • It Will Never Catch On:
    • Christopher Wallace's mom, Vonetta, is dubious about his belief that he'll be a huge star, believing that as a new dad, he needs to find a serious job to support his baby daughter. He, of course, became better known as The Notorious B.I.G., one of the best-selling rappers of all time.
    • Biggie himself keeps doubting the wisdom of his new producer, Sean Combs. Sean would become better known as Puff Daddy.
  • Kicked Upstairs: After butting heads with him several times, Kading and Dupree start to suspect that the Sheriff's department sent Tucker to them in order to get rid of him.
  • Not Me This Time: Keefe D insists that he had nothing to do with the murder of Biggie, but he confesses to being a party to the murder of Tupac.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Tim "Blondie" Brennan is a white cop with a surprisingly comprehensive knowledge of the history of the Blood-Crips feud. This has earned him a considerable amount of derision from his fellow detectives, who accuse him of wanting to be black.
  • Promoted to Scapegoat: After Tyndell retires, Kading is given even more control over the investigation, but as Tyndell warns him, this is only because the brass expects him to fail and they want to make him a scapegoat for the Vonetta Wallace lawsuit.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica:
    • At the start of the 2006 investigation, Daryn Dupree is still working through his penance for improperly accessing the department's computer system.
    • After he tries to do an end-run around the police by sending his report to an ADA, Poole is banished from Robbery & Homicide and faces the prospect of being put on Harbor Patrol. In the end, he is almost completely blackballed from law enforcement, loses his pension, and has to resort to working as a court officer.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Derek Poole believes that his investigation into a possible connection between the LAPD and Death Row Security is more important than following proper procedures. This gets him kicked out of RHD.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Blondie leaves the task force after growing convinced that Kading cares more about protecting the LAPD's reputation than actually solving Biggie's murder.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: According to Keefe D, the plot to kill Tupac began when a paranoid Puffy offered him and one of his associates half a million dollars to kill Tupac and Suge Knight, convinced that they were going to kill him. They sat on this until their trip to Vegas, where Keefe's nephew Orlando, who had previously picked a fight with one of Tupac's friends, got his ass kicked by Tupac in revenge. Angered by his nephew's beatdown and remembering that there was a half-million-dollar bounty on Tupac and Suge, Keefe tracked them down and killed Tupac, but failed to kill Suge Knight. Suge Knight ordered Biggie's death in retaliation.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Early in their careers, Biggie and Tupac were actually friends. After Tupac got shot on his way to Biggie's studio, he became convinced that Biggie was trying to kill him and signed with Suge Knight, one of Biggie's mortal enemies.
  • Young Future Famous People: "Take Your Best Shot" features a flashback to Biggie going on a date with his future wife, Faith Evans. Evans would later become a famous singer-songwriter in her own right.