The Corner

HBO, Sundays, starting April 16

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Tying off, shooting up, knocking each other up and around: too many dramatic series have shown urban African Americans doing little else. This six-hour mini-series gets away with it because it's adapted from a true story; because Charles S. Dutton directs it with grace; because T.K. Carter and Khandi Alexander are revelations as a middle-class couple brought low by, and struggling to rise above, their drug habit. The dialogue is at times stagey, and the characters are defined almost entirely through their addictions. But for this last, reality has to share the blame.

--By James Poniewozik