Sonay Hoffman, Found

Sonay Hoffman

Matt Miller/NBC
Found, NBC

Bill Kelly as Tony Mallory and Shanola Hampton as Gabi Mosely

Steve Swisher/NBC
Fill 1
Fill 1
October 02, 2023
In The Mix

Sonay Hoffman's Triumph Over Trauma

NBC's new crime drama explores race's affect on missing persons cases. 

Network executives have been known to play it safe. But not in the case of the NBC drama Found, an unflinching examination of how race affects the search for missing people. Instead, says co-showrunner and executive producer Sonay Hoffman, "These executives are eager to deliver this message, and there's no fear. It's like the industry has finally caught up."

Created by Nkechi Okoro Carroll, Found — premiering October 3 — centers on Gabi Mosely, a public relations expert played by series lead and producer Shanola Hampton (Shameless). A former kidnapping victim who draws on her own experience to help recover scores of missing people, Gabi becomes a beacon of hope for the underprivileged families of color she serves.

"People are tired of entertainment monetizing Black pain," Hoffman says. "Nkechi wanted to turn Gabi's trauma into a superpower."

This narrative of hope and empowerment resonated with Hoffman, whose previous credits include For Life, Daredevil and American Crime. "I'm lucky to be in a place in my career where I can be selective with my work," she says. "I just wasn't connecting with any project until Found came across my desk."

For all the show's thematic depth, Hoffman says it remains approachable and has lighter moments: "We're not a documentary; we're a scripted drama. We have fun, soapy elements."

Viewing the series as a potential vessel of catharsis, Hoffman believes Found can be emotionally therapeutic for an audience tired of an incessantly bleak news cycle. "There's a balance that must bestruck with traumatic stories that should be told about people of color," she says. "The characters will heal slowly, and that's okay. We're giving people permission to heal slowly."

Found airs October 3 on NBC.

This article originally appeared in magazine issue #10.

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