Moving to Los Angeles shortly before the murder of Christopher Wallace—also known as Biggie, or The Notorious B.I.G.—writer Kyle Long became fascinated by the rapper’s untimely end, and its handling in the media. Biggie’s murder would be linked by many to the murder a year earlier of another iconic American rapper, Tupac, and Long’s fascination with the pair of cultural icons would ultimately result in USA’s upcoming anthology series Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.

“I think for so long, he could never shake it,” Unsolved director Anthony Hemingway said recently at Deadline’s Sundance Studio, of Long’s fascination with his series’ subjects. When former LAPD detective Greg Kading’s book Murder Rap: The Untold Story of the Biggie Smalls & Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations was released in the early 2000s, that was all the impetus Long needed to pursue the making of a series on the same complicated subject.

“I think he just decided to write about it as an exercise, to therapize what he was dealing with,” Hemingway explained. “I think he’s definitely a person that has a large sensitivity to the human condition, and it’s evident in the show.”

The first season of Unsolved premieres on USA Network on February 27.  To view more from Deadline’s conversation with the celebrated director of films (Red Tails) and prestige television (ShamelessAmerican Crime Story), click above.

The Deadline Studio is presented by Hyundai. Special thanks to Calii Love.