Reel Estate

"Luke Cage" offers his landlord vigilante justice in lieu of rent

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From the moment the first trailer started making the rounds, it was clear that Netflix's Luke Cage—a Jessica Jones follow-up, and also set in the Marvel universe—lives and breathes Harlem. Albeit, a version of the neighborhood set in the aftermath of the fictional "Battle of New York."

Though eagle-eyed viewers will note that some of the on-location shots are actually farther north in Washington Heights, the character of the show is unmistakably uptown, full of grand old brownstones, local theaters, and a good deal of the early action set in the neighborhood barbershop.

One of the major plotlines also centers on the efforts of a local councilwoman to fund a huge new green-energy community real estate development dubbed the "New Harlem Renaissance."

Without giving too much away, it becomes clear early on that Councilwoman Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) has resorted to some less-than-legal tactics to fund the project, including, confusingly, hiring local criminals to shake down small businesses for donations. (Of all the corruption that cross-polinates between New York City politics and real estate, can't say we've ever heard of this particular approach.)

That said, the shakedowns turn out not to be such a good idea. The show's eponymous character, Luke (Mike Colter), lives in a dingy, poorly lit apartment above a Chinese restaurant, Genghis Connie's, and spends the early part of the first episode dodging his landlady because he's behind with the rent.

However, he happens to be in the right place at the right time, catching a group of four men violently threatening his landlord and her husband. Luke uses his superhuman strength (remember, this is the Marvel universe) to dispatch the goons, and his landlord is so grateful she tries to give him back the half of rent money he's already paid. He refuses, but we can safely assume she won't be breathing down his neck for missed payments anytime soon.

Now, if it were only that easy to get our landlords to offer us our money back...

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