When and Where Does FX’s Snowfall Take Place?

Image Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FX

FX’s crime drama seriesSnowfall’ revolves around Franklin Saint, whose ambitions lead him to build a drug empire. Franklin’s life as a drug trafficker started when he became a “delivery boy” to his uncle Jerome Saint, who sells marijuana in their community. Franklin soon realizes that the future belongs to the potential of crack cocaine, which makes him flood the streets of his community with the same. Franklin even strikes a deal with a CIA agent named Theodore “Teddy” McDonald to garner the drugs. Since the series is set in one of the most intriguing periods of modern American history, the crime drama’s setting is significant.

Snowfall Takes Place in 1980s in LA

‘Snowfall’ takes place in Los Angeles during the 1980s, with the narrative starting in 1983. John Singleton, Eric Amadio, and Dave Andron created the series’ narrative in the backdrop of the real-life crack cocaine epidemic that happened prominently in the 1980s in several parts of the country, including the City of Angels. Singleton was inspired by his own experiences as a boy who grew up in the city during the same period to create the crime drama. “This is kind of like my formative years,” the co-creator said while participating in an ATX Festival panel in 2017.

Image Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FX

As someone who grew up in the 1980s, Singleton wanted to depict how his community in LA started to prefer crack cocaine, which caused the epidemic, over marijuana. “[…] kids from the ghetto smoked weed and my friends from junior and high school did coke. But this is before crack, so it was an interesting thing to see how the transition was where that drug was accessible to people in the ‘hood,” he added. Therefore, it is safe to say that the setting of Los Angeles in the 1980s is a significant element of the show’s narrative.

Singleton and his team wanted to authentically portray what really happened in Los Angeles in the 1980s in the show, which led them to seek inspiration from first-hand accounts of real-life figures. “There are people that lived this stuff, we had to bring people in the room that could speak to this. We brought in consultants who were deep into each part of it,” Singleton said in the same panel discussion. He also dived deep into the undocumented history of the city he grew up in to conceive the storylines of the series. “It’s an untold story. It’s the story about how cocaine changed Los Angeles. There’s a whole kind of oral history, folk tale about this era. And no one has dramatized it. I wanted to do that,” he told Los Angeles Times.

Image Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FX

Singleton considered ‘Snowfall’ as a “nostalgic show” since he is someone who lived a significant part of his life in the City of Angels during the 1980s. The creative heads of the series have been careful about integrating the hit songs of the 1980s into the show along with many other references of the time. “It is nostalgic in a way but not over the top. It does give a muscle identification with what’s happening in the moment,” Singleton added. The setting of the show is also established through the costumes used in the show. “Costumes for me were a big one. How do you feel you’re in the ‘80s without doing something distracting? We ditched the shoulder pads,” Dave Andron said while participating in the same ATX Festival panel.

Although the crack epidemic of the 1980s was a nationwide surge of crack cocaine, Singleton’s experiences of growing up in LA made the show rooted in the City of Angels. The personal connection between the co-creator and the show’s setting enhanced the authenticity of the narrative of the crime drama.

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