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American Crime

Courtney Brooks

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Every year a plethora of new television shows release their series premieres, each one claiming to be the “show of the season.” Many of them fall short of these claims, and few are rarely picked up for season two. However, this past year, one series has come out that is packed with emotional turmoil and deals with issues at the forefront of today’s society: American Crime.

American Crime is a television drama that was released on March 5, 2015. It airs on ABC on Thursdays at 10 p.m., just after the popular show Scandal. It is no surprise that Academy Award winner John Ridley, who also created the movie 12 Years A Slave, created this series.

American Crime tells the story of a number of people who are involved in a criminal case and the legal process that follows, and how all of their lives are impacted in the turn of these events. So far, three episodes have been released, and racial issues are at the forefront of this show.

As of episode three, a white boy, whose parents believed him to be a golden child, has been murdered and his wife is in a coma and believed to have been raped. Investigations into the murder have revealed to his parents’, who are dealing with their own marriage issues, utter dismay that he was involved in drug dealing. And his wife, who was supposedly raped, was actually cheating on her now deceased husband with many men.

The suspects of these crimes include an African American addicted to crystal meth, a Latino high school student who has never been in trouble before, who lives under the strict rules of his father who seems to be ashamed of their race, and an illegal Mexican juvenile, who supports himself through illegal activities.

What makes this show hit so close to home for everyone who watches it is that it deals with the stereotypes we all face, no matter what race, religion or world we come from. Every character in this show is somehow a victim, but also somehow guilty. It shows that no matter what race you are, everyone is facing struggles and nobody is one hundred percent perfect.

Rather than painting the victims as completely innocent, Ridley highlights their mistakes and faults that led them to the position they are currently in. Rather than painting the suspects as evil, he highlights the struggles they are facing that have led them to make bad decisions. Where as most shows make us feel sorry for the victim and hate the suspect, we feel compassion and disapproval of both.

In a society that is focused so much on race and racial equality, or lack thereof, a show like this can be metamorphic to the viewers. It shows what is wrong with society, but also why things are the way they are, why these stereotypes exist, and how every member of society is equally both responsible and unaccountable.

If you haven’t watched this show yet, I highly recommend it to any and everyone. If you want to catch up on past episodes, they are all available through ABC’s website, On Demand and Amazon Prime.

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The Student News Source of the University of New Haven
American Crime