|Screenplay By||Gregory R. Anderson|
|Based On The Book “Redbone” By||Ron Stodghill|
|Date Released (BET Plus)||September 21, 2023|
|Film Length||1 Hour 38 Minutes|
|Content Rating||Rated TV-MA|
|Noted Characters and Cast|
|Mrs. Piedmont||Thea Camara|
|Leonard Piedmont||Kenneth Matthew Colquitt|
|Sophia Smith||Ciera Payton|
|Chloe Cross||Nicole Lyn|
|Delyse Burnell||Ernestine Johnson|
|Harmony West||Apryl Jones|
Content Rating Explanation
“Love & Murder: Atlanta Playboy, Part 1” contains:
- Dialog: Cursing
- Violence: Minor tussle, but no notable violence
- Sexual Content: Sexual situations which include moaning, groaning, and implied nudity
- Miscellaneous: Drinking and smoking
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Covering 1995 to 1996, we follow Lance Herndon, owner of Access Incorporated, as he competes to secure lucrative contracts for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. An ambitious man, with an all-female staff, Lance has already made some accomplishments in Atlanta, such as revolutionizing their 911 system, but when it comes to Lance’s personal life? He is a playboy, and with age, he is getting messy.
In fact, he has gotten messy to the point that, while his personal life hasn’t affected his business by much, it may affect his mortality.
Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.
40-year-old Lance is the CEO of Access Incorporated, which focuses on information networks and has recently upgraded Atlanta’s 9-1-1 system. But, while accomplished professionally, personally, he is a man who was divorced twice by 30, luckily only has one child, and is heading towards his third divorce because he is a sex addict.
Mrs. Piedmont is one half of the old guard that Lance would like to partner up with, but due to how they feel about him and his reputation, they’d rather bury what they see as competition than, as Black people, join up to take on the conglomerates.
Blair, when she met Lance, was a flight attendant, but after being pursued, married, and even getting pregnant by Lance, she ended up another conquest. One he has repeatedly tried to be a better man for, but as good of a woman as Blair is, she seemingly isn’t enough.
- The actor is also known for their role in “A Christmas Surprise.”
Sophia is Lance’s greatest temptation. Yes, she is high maintenance, but she knows how to network, schmooze with high society, and has a job within a boutique, so she always looks good.
- The actor is also known for their role in “A Madea Family Funeral” and their role in “She’s Gotta Have It.”
Chloe is a woman from the islands that Lance pursues, but she doesn’t let him do what he usually does with other women. He isn’t allowed just to buy her through gifts and lavish experiences. She forces him to romance her and give quality time to gain her heart.
Delyse is the office manager at Access Incorporated and the only woman Lance hasn’t slept with who he is close to.
Harmony is Delyse’s assistant, a nice and potentially simple girl who isn’t the best with social cues.
- The actor is also known for their role in “For The Love of Jason.”
Lance’s idol is Mr. Piedmont, who was never a mentor to him, but in many ways, you can see he did model and respect him until Mr. Piedmont showed he has no love for his competition, even if partnering with them would be good for business.
Every garbage can has its lid.
— Mrs. Piedmont
Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)
You Easily Get Caught Up In All The Drama
From Lance’s battles with the old money gang in Mrs. and Mr. Piedmont to fighting his former backers, who exploited his Blackness to gain access to funds they couldn’t as White men, Lance is dealing with a lot of drama from the start. Then when you add in he is a whore? The type who sleeps with anyone who has the right figure? Lance is a mess, and with it being clear someone killed him, and, as time goes on, everyone has a good motive to take him out? While I wouldn’t say this should be labeled as a mystery, what you are presented with does leave you constantly wondering what will happen.
The Villains Are Tame & Eye Roll Inducing
While the drama everyone brings is interesting because of how Taye Diggs as an actor reacts, I wouldn’t say those who stand against him are that interesting. The Piedmont family are simply two older people who have zero desire to work with an up-and-coming Black man since they disagree about his proclivities and since they feel like they are losing control of what made them rich.
Then, when it comes to Lance’s original financers, Georgia Hill Enterprises, they are generic White men in suits. They have no personalities. They are just meant to be the evil White gatekeepers, mad their Black puppet wants to cut his strings and go solo – thus cutting them out of the money they’d get out of him.
The combination is a bit disappointing, for it forces Diggs to do a lot of heavy lifting, which he is more than capable of. However, if he is this good on his own, imagine how good he would have been if the people he was performing opposite of had the writing and performances to really challenge or compliment him.
While Based On A True Story, You Aren’t Given Reason To Learn What’s The Truth Or An Embellishment
Despite the movie starting with “Based on a True Story” and then you seeing all that happens with Lance, it doesn’t push you to learn what is or isn’t real. This film is written in such a way that it easily could be another BET Plus or Tubi movie without being based on a real person.
The reason this is a problem is because, while not every biopic or even film based on a real person needs to be shot, edited, and performed in a certain way, “Love & Murder: Atlanta Playboy” gives you this generic look, tone, and slew of performances that make it feel like the real Lance is not what matters, but the drama in his life which would make a good story. So, any signs of his brilliance or business acumen? Who cares?! He was a successful Black man behaving badly and, so it seems, that was what those behind this wanted to hone in on, while throwing in tidbits that aren’t necessarily sexy.
On The Fence
The Ladies In Lance’s Life
The way “Love and Murder: Atlanta Playboy” writes its women is complicated. It does the bare minimum by making it clear each one has a name and who they are in Lance’s world. However, who they are outside of his world is very limited. Most of them, from Blair to Sophia and Chloe, aren’t much beyond whoever Lance is focused on. Because of that, you don’t have any reason to grow attached to them as individuals.
Now, some, like Delyse, who is like Lance’s sister, do have a bit more room to be seen as an individual since, even if she is a subordinate, she challenges Lance, which allows her to be a person rather than a love interest. However, between the aforementioned ladies and Harmony, for the most part, the women are just people Lance sleeps with who may have unique looks and personalities, but they don’t evolve too much beyond the flavor of the month.
Who Is This For?
Those who enjoy watching men behave badly.
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Love & Murder: Atlanta Playboy, Part 1 (2023) – Overview
Taye Diggs proves himself to be a notable actor by making what could easily be a passable film watchable thanks to his performance.
You Easily Get Caught Up In All The Drama - 82%
The Villains Are Tame & Eye Roll Inducing - 63%
While Based On A True Story, You Aren’t Given Reason To Learn What’s The Truth Or An Embellishment - 62%
The Ladies In Lance’s Life - 72%
- You Easily Get Caught Up In All The Drama
- The Ladies In Lance’s Life
- While Based On A True Story, You Aren’t Given Reason To Learn What’s The Truth Or An Embellishment
- The Villains Are Tame & Eye Roll Inducing