Emmett is a sneaker-obsessed teenager who can't seem to keep it in his pants, and who now has an unplanned child to show for it. With the prodding of his strong mother Jada, he does his best to provide for his son.
A good kid from a loving household, Kevin just wants to have fun with his friends and flirt with cute girls. But it's easy to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time on the south side, and in an instant, Kevin finds himself in serious trouble.
Emmett's tough but loving mother is a hard-working eldercare nurse who is not interested in babysitting any more of her surprise grandchildren. One of her patients is Ethel, Ronnie's grandmother.
The third member of Kevin's posse, Papa is smart, precocious, funny, and boy does he like to eat. He is full of self-confidence, and his main desires are to get with girls and pursue his diverse interests.
Jake is Kevin's good friend, and he, Kevin and Papa are pretty much inseparable. But Jake's older brother is a leader in a local gang, and Jake is at risk of falling under his influence.
Kevin's older sister is a high school track star who, like any normal teenager testing independence, frequently finds herself with her over-protective mom. Kiesha and Kevin are close and she definitely has his back, and vice versa.
Kevin and Kiesha's loving mother is a proud lesbian with clear rules and high expectations for her kids. Determined to shield them from the dangers of the city, she does all she can to keep them focused on their education and bright futures.
Ronnie means well, but he doesn't seem to have the personal strength to extricate himself from a bad situation. Perennially unemployed, he lives with his feisty grandmother Ethel and dreams of getting back with his true love.
Jerrika is Brandon's girlfriend from the "right" side of the tracks. She is trying to help Brandon build a future with her in the restaurant they want to open together. She has very little patience for Brandon's old life.
Jake’s older brother Reg may be a drug dealer and gang leader, but Reg looks out for his little bro, for better or worse. But Reg lives a dangerous life, where one wrong move could spell disaster.
A soft-hearted police officer whose beat is the south side, Detective Cruz is doing his best to try and stem the violence and bloodshed in the neighborhood. But he is impeded on both sides by a police force that thinks he's too soft, and a local populace that wants nothing to do with the cops.
Brandon's fragile mother Laverne needs more parenting than she gives. A drinking problem, lack of ambition, and questionable taste in men have kept her down, and a terrible personal tragedy threatens to derail her all together.
Quentin is a neighborhood kingpin elder. He has been gone for a while, but has recently returned to try to re-stake his claim. Although he earns a living illegally, he does seem to maintain a degree of civility and an interest in protecting the families of the neighborhood.
Douda is a successful businessman and mayoral candidate by day, stealth leader of a brutal local gang by night. He knows how to shake the right hands and smile for the camera, but his motives are purely selfish and he is ruthless in his pursuit of them.
Jake's estranged older brother returns to town with his girlfriend, determined to reunite his family and get custody of Jake. Although Trig's intentions are good, he has a complicated past that does not make him an ideal candidate for guardian, at least in the eyes of others.
Nina's new wife Dre is anxious to fully immerse herself in Nina's family and step in as co-parent to Kiesha and Kevin. She clearly loves her new family and proves that she is there for them in times of crisis.
Trig's loving girlfriend Imani is ride-or-die for her man, but will stand up to him when she feels he is wrong. She has a good heart and is happy to help people who need it, including aiding Trig in getting custody of Jake.