It’s a work night about two months ago. I’m just about ready to hit the hay, when I decide to cap off my night by catching a new show I’d been hearing about on ABC called, “American Crime.” I was interested in the show for these reasons:
- The billboard on the show over there where Olympic/Fairfax and San Vicente meet looked gritty and seedy, just like real American crime.
- The billboard had a bi-racial couple on it.
- The show is written by John Ridley, who wrote “Undercover Brother,” starring Dave Chapelle – one of the funniest damn people on the planet. Here’s a scene from that movie, which is one of my faves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubV3t9_CwDc
- I think Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton are dang good actors.
I was pretty tired. When I started, I thought I might even just catch part of the pilot, but DAMN! – this story woke me right up! Here is a network television show, hitting it hard with issues of race, gender and class, right here in the doggone US of A. So, of course, there was nothing to do but BINGE…
… which I did with great fervor.
Still, a working girl’s gotta get some kip. Fast forward to…
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
Turns out, I’ve got a four-day weekend on hand here; so, on Thursday night, I got all caught up with the show and witnessed the shocking finale. Here’s my run down on the whole thing:
- Who killed Matt Skokie? Could have been just about anybody. His family didn’t want to admit it, but Matt Skokie was a sadistic, bigoted, violent criminal. He had many enemies. I’m pretty sure Rick and his gang on “The Walking Dead” would have had to kill him.
- The most likely killer that we actually met during the show: Aubrey. The most shocking thing to me is how Matt’s family was so certain it could not have been that poor messed up junkie.who did it. Her story stood up.
- Hooray for Hector. He got a lucky break in Mexico. He got back together with his girlfriend/wife and kid. He got the job that depended on his bi-lingual skills. He is ready for a new start
- Mr. Gutierrez also appeared to manage to get off his old school funk long enough to really meet minds with his troubled son Tony – and good ole Jenny will probably do fine with Aunt Commie and Uncle Socialist.
- Definitive question of the series (maybe) raised by Mark Skokie’s Asian fiancee, Richelle: “You’ve got to decide what you want from this life. Do you want hate?” Even though it isn’t her biological family, Richelle is obviously super dedicated to relations with the in-laws – perhaps another cultural comment in and of itself.
The big lose is Carter and Aubrey. Although innocent of killing Matt Skokie (I believe), Carter’s short life was marked with turmoil. It’s worth noting that the sole reason Carter is released is the political pressure brought to bear by Carter’s sister Aliyah and the Black community.
WITHOUT A POLITICAL MOVEMENT, HE WOULD HAVE BEEN JUST ANOTHER BLACK MAN IN JAIL – OR DEAD.
Carter had just begun go clean and to re-assess his options when he is cut down by a white man who could not believe, in spite of all the evidence, that it wasn’t Carter that killed his son.
Aubrey: quite the complex character. Everyone knows drug addicts lie, right? Still, no one ever believed Aubrey – or at least no one wanted to. After her stint in the foster care system, she was probably disturbed before she ever came into the Taylor home.
In real life, The U.S. Foster Care system is messed up.
Last year, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared the system a “State of Emergency.” According to an LA Times article on April 10, 2014, some 40 infants per day are reported as possible victims of abuse and neglect.
This after a blue ribbon commission was appointed in 2013 to bring reform to the system after the death of an 8-year-old who was found “with his skull cracked, three ribs broken, bruised and burned skin, and BB pellets embedded in his lung and groin.” Apparently, as of this writing, the changes recommended by the commission have yet to be implemented. A cursory look at the internet reveals this to be epidemic all over the United States.
Now, do you believe Aubrey?
John Ridley’s American Crime isn’t your usual crime story. It explores the root of crime. What precedes crime? Where are no easy answers.