UNSOLVED: THE MURDERS OF TUPAC AND THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. -- "Pilot" -- Pictured: (l-r) Marcc Rose and Wavyy Jonez (Photo by: James Minchin III/USA Network)

The actors who play Biggie, Tupac and the detectives who try to solve their murders

Marcc Rose looks so much like rapper Tupac Shakur that pictures of him in character make it difficult to tell them apart. Rose standing beside Wavyy Jonez, who plays The Notorious B.I.G. in the upcoming TV crime-drama series Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G., makes it even harder to tell the actor from the real personalities.

Both Jonez and Rose are in costume in the photos but even when they’re not they still bear remarkable resemblance to the real Christopher Wallace, also known as The Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls, and Tupac (2Pac), two of rap music’s greatest gifts who were gunned down in similar fashion in the 1990s. Both their murders remain officially unsolved.

Premiering Tuesday on the USA Network, the 10-part TV series follows the investigation into the murders of Biggie and Tupac, introducing us to a newcomer to acting, an actor who has only played one role before Unsolved alongside some very familiar faces from film and television.

Marcc Rose will star in his second role in Unsolved. His other role was also as Shakur, in Straight Outta Compton, his debut acting role. I suppose they chose him for the part not only for his acting ability but also because of the uncanny resemblance to Shakur. It will certainly add to Rose’s believability in the role.

Here is something about him you may not know. Before Rose got into the industry he was in the fashion business as creator and designer of the urban clothing line called Controversial Treatment.

Wavyy Jonez is the mirror image of Wallace (Biggie), a Brooklyn honour student who became a small-time drug dealer before becoming known as the face of East Coast rap. He was shot and killed in Los Angeles six months after Shakur.

This is Jonez’s very first acting role. He was discovered among thousands of hopefuls who auditioned in a nationwide open casting call for the role of Notorious B.I.G. in Unsolved. His video audition captured the attention of casting directors and the show’s director, Anthony Hemingway. Jonez is a rapper with a metaphorical style reminiscent of New York artists of the 1990s. His first mixtape was called R.E.D. D.O.P.E. (Real Everyday Drama Doing Over People’s Expectation).

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Josh Duhamel plays Det. Greg Kading, who headed a multi-agency task-force to find out who was responsible for Wallace’s murder.

Duhamel has had numerous roles in film and television, appearing in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Lasse Hallstrom’s Safe Haven, George C. Wolfe’s You’re Not You and Garry Marshall’s New Year’s Eve opposite Hilary Swank and Emmy Rossum; as well as Life as We Know It with Katherine Heigl, When in RomeLost in the SunBravetown, and The Romantics. Known for playing Danny McCoy on the NBC crime drama Las Vegas, he recently appeared in J.J. Abrams, Joseph Boccia and Athena Wickham’s miniseries 11.22.63, Shintaro Shimosawa’s Misconduct, and Brett Rapkin’s Spaceman. Duhamel is a three-time Emmy-nominated actor for his role on the soap opera All My Children.

Officer Daryn Dupree was a key member of Kading’s task force and someone who had extensive knowledge of both Los Angeles gangs and the rap industry. Dupree is played by Harlem-native Bokeem Woodbine (Ray, Life, Devil, The Host, and Riddick).

Woodbine’s first role was a lead in Forrest Whitaker’s directorial debut, Strapped. Since then he has appeared in films of all genres. He recently appeared in Underground, directed by Hemingway, and in Spider-Man: Homecoming. His credits on television include Saving Grace and The Billionaire Boys Club. Most recently, he starred in the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning series Fargo, in which he was nominated for an Emmy for his role as Mike Milligan.

Russell Poole investigated Notorious B.I.G.’s murder in 1997. He became convinced that the LAPD was covering up something. His findings eventually led Biggie’s mother Voletta Wallace to file a massive lawsuit against the city. She used the $400 million she received from the claim to help open a second investigation into her son’s death.

Poole is played by Jimmi Simpson (Westworld, House of Cards), a SAG Award-nominated actor. Simpson (Herbie: Fully Loaded, White House Down) who made his feature film debut in the teen comedy Loser, directed by Amy Heckerling, has acted in Under the Silver Lake and an upcoming Errol Morris miniseries. He has also appeared in multiple series such as Hap and Leonard, The Newsroom, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, USA Network’s Psych and NBC’s This Is Us.

These actors have joined the cast; Jamie McShane (Bloodline) as Det. Fred Miller, Brent Sexton (The Killing) as Det. Brian Tyndall, Luke James (Black Nativity) as Sean “Puffy” Combs, Aisha Hinds (Underground) as Biggie’s mother Voletta Wallace, and Letoya Luckett (Rosewood) as Suge Knight’s estranged wife Sharitha Golden.

Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. – part one of 10 starts on Feb. 27, 2018 at 10 p.m. (EST) on the USA Network

by Cherryl Bird – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Twitter @ladycbird | Instagram @cherrylbird

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