The Oscar-winning actor will play crime boss Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson, an associate of the Luciano crime family who was considered the most-feared criminal in Harlem between 1930 and 1968. Godfather of Harlem, which has received a straight-to-series order, will follow Johnson's return to Harlem in the early 1960s after 10 years in prison, when he finds his old neighborhood in shambles. The show will dramatize Johnson's battle with the Genovese crime family and his alliance with Malcolm X. According to The Hollywood Reporter, "the series is described as a collision of the criminal underworld and the civil rights movement during one of the most tumultuous times in American history." Whitaker, who has been recurring on Empire, says of the role: "Godfather of Harlem is a show with powerful relevance to the issues we face today — gang violence, police brutality, opioid addiction and racial politics in a divided country."