“American Crime” An Outstanding TV Series [ABC Studios], Written, Produced, and Created by John Ridley
Should Sweep TV Emmy Awards!
In a time of domestic turmoil when dynamic human forces are swirling about in a series of confrontations and family tragedies, “American Crime”, an innovative TV series, created by the talented Academy Award Winner [12 Years A Slave] John Ridley has captured the time’s troubled temper.
In a kaleidoscope of characters, ranging from L.A. Chicano gangs played by Richard Cabral [once a real gang member] to the ostensible black gangster, Elvis Nolasco; arching over the lead characters played by Caitlin Gerard, Timothy Hutton; and Felicity Huffman, we see an American Tragedy emerging as these characters try to make some sense of a senseless drug killing.
From the very beginning of the TV series, one is completely thrown off by the fact that we never see the actual murder. The creator of this series, the articulate, bright screen writer/novelist, John Ridley concentrates his story line on the different familial reactions to a crime that the viewer never really sees. Next Ridley takes us through a series of dramatic twists and turns that keep drawing us further into the disparate story lines till we, the viewer, want a moment of respite and emotional catharsis. It is very rare to see a TV series of such emotional depth without relying on stereotypic characters or iconic scenes of violence.
To say that the actors were uniformly outstanding is an exceedingly rare occurrence in this judge’s experience. For those who might remember the American writer Theodore Dreiser, one might imagine that “American Crime” could be the modern day equivalent of Dreiser’s masterpiece, An American Tragedy. The polymath John Ridley happens to be African American. However, his sensibilities are clearly universal and trenchant. He understands the complicated dynamics that occur amidst all the races and ethnic groups without straining credulity. It’s a pleasure to witness this kind of talent in action. All of the characters, played by exceptional indigenous actors range from the panoply of diversity that we see in America.
There are very few moments in the lengthy TV show that appear contrived, or incredulous. To ABC Studios, I send my kudos for taking an exceptional risk on a very delicate subject and making certain that the show never wavers into maudlin, self-indulgence; or bursts out into flairs of gratuitous violence. The Television Academy would do well to grant this show all the recognition that it deserves , as follows:
▪ Best Director;
▪ Best Producer;
▪ Best Original Screenplay;
▪ Best Production Designs.
▪ For the leading characters—awards galore.
Once again , congratulations to John Ridley for a job exceedingly well done. May his career continue to prosper in the directions that he may chose. To ABC Studios, a tip of the hat for taking an incredible risk that could have easily backfired into the TV land of gratuitous sex, violence, drug addiction, and minority stereotyping.
I will end this blog on note of caution to ABC Studios and John Ridley. It may have been sufficient to have developed this series for only one season. I am concerned that two or more seasons will strain the viewers’ compassion and interest.
But what do I know?
I just watch and vote.