We Need To Talk About “Claws”

Claws is the show we need and the one we deserve.

Odalis G
4 min readAug 30, 2017

With the summer being all but over I have to say that the best “summer show” premiered this year. Yes, of course we have all been preoccupied with the twists, turns, incestuous deeds and dragons of Game of Thrones but I’m talking about Claws.

Source: TNT; Claws

This powerhouse of a show is lead by Niecy Nash, who has finally been given the leading lady role she deserves. She is introduced as Desna, a nail technician from Palmetto, Florida who is trying to get out from under the hold of the Dixie Mafia and open a new nail salon in the bougie part of town. However, the unplanned murder of her flame (Jack Kesy) who is the Dixie Mafia’s golden boy sets her back a couple of steps.

Though the story is very much focused on Desna wanting to give herself and her brother (Harold Perrineau), who is on the autism spectrum, a better life, in the span of 10-episodes you start to care deeply for the other members of Desna’s crew and see them for the individual and complex characters they are.

The crew is composed of Carrie Preston, Judy Reyes, Karrueche Tran and Jenn Lyon. These five women, their friendship and loyalty to one another is what carries this show above and beyond. These women are mothers, caretakers, sisters, nail techs, lovers, absolutely badass, and unafraid to ruin you if the need presents itself.

Judy Reyes’ Quiet Ann, a lesbian character who is not the end of a joke and is pivotal part of not the most important part of the crew. She keeps them grounded and protected and she gives great pedicures. She rarely ever says a word but when she does it is insightful and always taken as sage advice. Quiet Ann is their protector at all times, but who we see go through a journey of love and inevitably she has to decide who she is most loyal to.

Preston’s Polly is a force to be reckoned with. We catch up with her as she is just let out of prison after conning old folks in a retiree community out of their money. And though she has lied her way through life she always stays true to Desna and the crew, even if that means her falling back into the criminal habits that landed her in jail in the first place. Preston has been in the game for a long time (from True Blood to The Good Wife) and this role is just another icon and testament to her talent.

Lyon’s character, Jennifer Husser, is Desna’s best friend but there is more to her than just the constant companion. She’s a mother and recovering alcoholic who has already been hurt by the mob’s influence in her life, though she technically married into it. She will ferociously defend her daughters and family even if at times it conflicts with the interests of her best friend.

And last but not least is Virginia (Tran) who at first seems to be a foil to Desna but as the series evolves we see her growth from petty and competitive to realizing that she is just seeking acceptance, a way to get out of the stripping business, and a desire to have a family who will have her back.

These women are as intense in their loyalty to one another as they are in their manicure game. They will just as easily create art while at the same time framing some evil rich white people for murder. It is not to say that there aren’t divides in the friendships at times and that trust doesn’t falter every now and then but that’s just life. Friendships will chip but the beauty of women, which this show illustrates, is that even when we’re not in great speaking terms we will root for each other.

Of course it makes sense that this show’s women are so complex and intriguing since the creative crew is composed mainly of women, including director Victoria Mahoney (Queen Sugar, Power), writer Janine Sherman Barrois (Criminal Minds, ER), who is also an executive producer along with Rashida Jones.

Claws also takes down and tears apart gender roles and toxic masculinity. You have the three main male Hussers of the Dixie Mafia who are not afraid to express their feelings and cry.

Source: TNT; Claws

Mob boss, Clay Husser who goes by Uncle Daddy (Dean Norris) has his own side boy toy who is treated as part of the family and is never questioned, and neither is Uncle Daddy’s masculinity. He is still shown as devoted to his wife (played by Dale Dickey) who he treats like the warrior empress she is.

The show addressed Roller’s (Kesy) trauma after being a victim of kidnap and sexual assault. A narrative that is not usually given to male characters.

It is a show that lives up to every expectation and more. Now that it has been renewed for season 2 I can’t wait to see how it will further develop. And I will repeat: it is SO GOOD to finally see Niecy Nash in the spotlight she deserves.

Here’s hoping that next summer won’t just be about the arrival of winter or whatever else, but about the heat and vibrancy of the sunshine state and the five women who will stick together through thick and thin and all that humidity.



Odalis G

Currently watching every TV show. Will yell about them to my friends, and occasionally write about it. Passionate about Cuban food and the salsa dancing emoji.