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Sunday, 9 p.m., Showtime
In “Guerrilla,” John Ridley, who created the award-winning ABC anthology series “American Crime,” shifts his focus from stateside society ills to the problems faced by British immigrants in the early 1970s. “Slumdog Millionaire” star Freida Pinto plays Jas Mitra, a nurse’s aide whose boyfriend, Marcus (Babou Ceesay), is an unemployed tutor who can only find work in British prisons. They become radicalized when one of their friends is targeted by police during a demonstration protesting the Immigration Act of 1971, in which citizens of the Commonwealth lost their automatic right to remain in the United Kingdom unless they had lived and worked there for five years. They decide to liberate Dhari (Nathaniel Martello-White), a political prisoner who can help them combat racism. Naturally, they get more than they bargained for, including an encounter with a fugitive Black Panther (Brandon Scott).
“Guerrilla” also shines a disturbing light on the Black Power Desk, a secretive Special Branch counterintelligence unit within the London police department dedicated to crushing all forms of black activism. Ridley, an Oscar winner for “12 Years a Slave,” spoke to The Post by phone from London about his new series.
Jas has to push Marcus into embracing the radical life. Why the reluctance when he is equally oppressed?
I didn’t want these two to be action heroes. Like they were suddenly embracing violence. You look back on people in any struggle and there may be a time when they find themselves leaders or activists. There’s a moment at the end of the first episode where Dhari is telling Jas what her life is going to be and she literally can’t stomach what she is hearing.
What was the Immigration Act of 1971?
It was a legalese way of trying to differentiate between white and nonwhite immigrants from former colonial nations. People of color were invited to the UK after World War II to help fill the [decimated] labor force. Upon arriving, they were not welcome. There came a point in the late 1960s and early 70s when some people in government wanted to stop immigration for people of color. To oppress certain individuals. Or [have them] not work above a certain level.
Why is there an American Black Panther in the story?
You mean Leroy? He’s a guy on the run. He ends up in a radical cell a bit by happenstance. He finds himself swept up by these individuals. It was fun to have a character who was a version of that.
The Black Power Desk seems truly insidious. What did you find out about it?
There really was this organization. That was their reason for existing: to put pressure on anybody who was radical. Something that was very surprising was how little it was reported. How little it was known. I think it was very quietly over time phased out.
And here’s what else to watch this week:
Wednesday, 8 p.m., Fox
The list of suspects in the death of Joey Campbell multiplies when Preston (Stephan James) and Ashe (Sanaa Lathan) realize a program sponsored by the sheriff’s department may have caused some damage in the town of Gate Station.
Stayin’ Alive: A Grammy Salute to the Music of the Bee Gees
Sunday, 8 p.m., CBS
The “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack changed the careers of the Bee Gees. who wrote four No. 1 hits for that album and recorded three of them. The group is a receiving a tribute featuring Celine Dion, John Legend and Keith Urban, among many others. John Travolta (inset) shows his appreciation. Barry Gibb, the trio’s sole survivor, also performs.
Sunday, 10:30 p.m., HBO
Season premiere. One year after losing the presidency, Selina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) attempts to secure her legacy. Meanwhile, Dan (Reid Scott) tries to ingratiate himself at his new job. And Amy’s (Anna Chlumsky) personality proves too much for her new co-workers.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Saturday, 8 p.m., HBO
Henrietta Lacks (Renee Elise Goldsberry) was diagnosed with cancer in 1951. After her death, cells from her biopsy were used without her permission or her family’s knowledge to create the first immortal human cell line. Science writer Rebecca Skloot (Rose Byrne, below left) learned the story and wanted to expand it into book form. In time, Skloot meets Lacks’ daughter, Deborah (Oprah Winfrey, below right) who has mom’s medical records. Initially distrustful, Deborah eventually comes around and learns about her mother’s contribution to medicine.
Tuesday, 9 p.m., Fox
T-Bag (Robert Knepper) warns Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies) that Poseidon’s henchmen may be following her. Meanwhile, Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) attempts to retrieve his passport, and Michael (Wentworth Miller) plans his next move.
Sunday, 10 p.m., HBO
Series finale. From her arrival in Williamsburg to her brief stint in the Iowa MFA program to her pregnancy, Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham, inset) has grown up in an exasperating and unpredictable fashion. As the five-year-old series comes to a conclusion, she embarks on a yet another new chapter. With Adam Driver and Jemima Kirke.
Wednesday, 10 p.m., FX
Season premiere. Chaos is visited upon a Minnesotan community when the rivalry between two brothers (both played by Ewan McGregor) festers. Co-starring Carrie Coon as Gloria Burgle, a cop in the mode of Marge Sunderson from the 1996 movie, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Nikki Swango, a bridge player out on parole.