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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Red Line Finale: Realism and Optimism



As I've said before in my review of The Red Line, I give CBS-TV a lot of credit for airing this sensitive and important mini-series.  It's the kind of series you'd expect to find on cable or streaming, and its presence on an old, traditional network at once tells us that this network isn't so old or traditional, after all.

[spoilers follow] ....


The ending was realistic and optimistic, a tough combination to find anywhere these days.  The cop, Paul Evans, gets off without a grand jury indictment, which still happens all too often when a white cop is caught on video killing a black man, without justification.  In other words, murdering him.

But Tia wins the election as Alderman.   Even though the corrupt DA also wins.  And, in the end, Evans resigns.  He recognizes that he's racist.  That's progress and optimistic indeed.

The gay thread of this vivid drama was handled very well, too.  Jira's biological father has found her, and that's heart-warming.  But he also found God, years ago, and his devout beliefs tell him a man and a man being husband and husband is wrong.  Jira, as much as she wants a relationship with her biological father, tells him to leave.  All of this is very realistic.

I know The Red Line is billed as a mini-series, but I would tune in immediately if there was a sequel.  And there's ample room for that.  I want to see how Tia does in office.  I want to see how Daniel does with Liam.  And speaking of Daniel - if Noah Wyle doesn't at least get nominated for an Emmy, I'll be stunned.  And, though there have been lots of other strong male performances in short series, I'd say he has a strong chance of winning, as well.

 See also The Red Line 1.1-4: Bursting with Crucial Lessons for Our Age

Videos in which I talk about Black Lives Matter:  here and here

 



The Enemy Within Season 1 Finale: The Crucial Lie



I thought The Enemy Within season 1 finale, on earlier tonight, kept true to all of its bases and then some.

Shepherd turned out to be loyal to her single-minded goal of killing Tal.  She does this by giving Tal some crucial information (which doesn't ultimately get in the way of the FBI's preventing a massacre of CIA brass) and by shooting Keaton (to make it look for a moment like she killed him, even though the bullet would cause no lasting damage).  And [spoilers ahead] she indeed kills Tal in the end.

But Tal tells her something before she kills him - about a very high-level operative in U. S. Intelligence - and Shepherd lies by omission in a subsequent conversation with Keaton, when he asks her if she learned anything from Tal that Keaton needs to know, and Shepherd declines to reveal what Tal told her about the U. S. operative.

That lie is crucial.   Shepherd, on her way to being under lock and key again, needs something she can use for advantage with Keaton.  That's the formula, after all, that worked so well, this year.  And, by the way, I think it did work well.   The fate of this series is still unknown.  But Shepherd's lie of omission to Keaton sets up a second season perfectly.   The two will hunt the high-level traitor in the U. S. with Shepherd behind bars when she's not out working with Keaton, but Shepherd is in possession of some crucial information unknown to Keaton.

I should also mention that I thought the action tonight was top drawer.  Two desperate operations in two different places, with bullets flying galore.   The storyline always veers close to credibility, which is just the way it should be.  I hope to see more.

See also The Enemy Within 1.4: Microsoft AI ... The Enemy Within 1.5: The New Mole ... The Enemy Within 1.7: The Conversation ... The Enemy Within 1.8: Oranges (Think About It) ... The Enemy Within 1.9: CIA vs. FBI ... The Enemy Within 1.12: Razor's Edge

 

Chernobyl 1.3: The Reasons



The reason that Chernobyl happened is, as in most catastrophes, actually many interlocking reasons.  Had any of them not been in play, the explosion likely wouldn't have occurred.  You can read all about them, for starters, on Wikipedia, if you're interested.  Tonight on Chernobyl 1.3 Ulana Khomyuk begins to explore them.   As is always the case with these complex, cascading causes, nothing makes sense or seems possible at first as the cause of the accident.   And in Khomyuk's case, it's not helped either by two of the three main managers dying after her initial interview with them, and the third unwilling to talk to her, at least at present.

The greater truth is that, whatever the causes, splitting the atom is just not a safe way to generate energy.   That's why Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima all happened for different reasons.  It's not that almost anything can go with generation of energy from fission.  It's that there are so many parts that have to be operating, if not perfectly, at least within margins of error, that sooner or later something will go wrong, at a very wrong time, or an external event like an earthquake will set in motion that cascade of destructive events, as happened at Fukushima.

The ensuing tragedy extends to all sorts of loss of human life, including heroes who knowingly sacrifice their lives to stave off a greater disaster.  That was well shown tonight with the Soviet miners who had to shed their clothes, it was so hot, to stop the concrete floor from melting.  The lack of clothes didn't really matter, as Legasov has to admit, because the clothes offered no protection against the deadly radiation.  This made a grim and harrowing counterpoint to Lyudmilla Ignatenko not only seeing but hugging her stricken husband Vasily in the Moscow hospital.   Her love for her husband was so strong that she what was not only willing to put her own life in jeopardy, but that of their unborn baby.   Exposure to radiation and its horrors scrambles every human equation.

This mini-series is not easy to watch, to say the least.  But it is vitally important for everyone to see.

See also: Chernobyl 1.1: The Errors of Arrogance ... Chernobyl 1.2: The Horror Movie

 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Killing Eve 2.7: Death and Sex



I thought the high-point of the next-to-final episode of Season 2 of Killing Eve last night - 2.7 - was the very end, where we see that Villanelle has killed Niko's annoying new girlfriend.  It was a high-point because it amply demonstrates two enduring truths about Villanelle:  she's a cold-blooded killer (as are most paid assassins) and she's loyal to Eve.  So of course she would kill Eve's husband's girlfriend.

The problem for our characters, of course, is these two truths of Villanelle could well come into conflict.  And though nothing is certain, it's better than 50/50, I'd say, that the killer will win out over the loyalty.   With only one more episode this season, and Killing Eve already renewed for a third season, however, it's a 100% safe bet that the killer won't win out in this season, at least.

But there's so much killing in Villanelle, that I'd day we're likely to see at least one other expression of it in the finale next week.  Aaron Peel, the British Mark Zuckerberg, is the most likely victim, but he was so weird and even nauseating last night that I'm beginning to think it's unfair to compare him to Zuckerberg in any way.  But that never stopped me before.

The other moment of note is Eve pulling the cover off a sleeping Hugo, waking him up and having a go at it (is that a British expression?  I'm not sure).  But it was good to see Eve expressing herself that way - taking advantage of the situation at hand - and Hugo didn't seem to mind it at all, either.

Hey, the Game of Thrones finale was on last night, and I managed to watch and now review Killing Eve after all.   Says a lot about how compelling this series is, and my high opinion of it.

See also Killing Eve 2.1: Libido and Thanatos ... Killing Eve 2.2: Villanelle as Victim ... Killing Eve 2.3 Lipstick ... Killing Eve 2.6: Billie

And see also Killing Eve: Highly Recommended (Season 1)


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Game of Thrones Finale: Democracy Almost Comes to the Seven Kingdoms



In the penultimate scene of the Game of Thrones finale, Sam proposes democracy for the Seven Kingdoms: their King or Queen should be chosen by the people.  The gathered noble men and women laugh at him.   Someone remarks, why not let dogs also choose who rules us (taking a line from Socrates, who said something about jackasses, the animals, ruling - come to think of it, Tyrion talked about a jackass in a brothel, too).   Tyrion, ever the smartest person in the group, proposes that these gathered nobility choose the ruler.  They of course like that.  And Tyrion proposes Bran, who is ratified as King by the group.

So democracy almost comes to the Seven Kingdoms.  Instead, they get a kind of plutocracy.  Probably the best that could be done, under the circumstances.   And Bran will not rule over seven kingdoms.  Sansa wants to be Queen of Winterfell.

That, I would say, is the kernel of excellence in the finale.  As for the rest, well, it had its moments.  I liked Arya sailing off to whatever is America in this fantasy world.  I like the interaction between Drogon and Jon after Jon kills Daenery (presumably Drogon didn't know that).   I also liked Drogon incinerating the throne - the pursuit of which killed its beloved mother.

As for the killing of Dany, it was inevitable.  Everything we saw last week, and tonight, before she was killed, required that.  I think a lot of discontent with last week's episode stems from fans of Daenerys who didn't want to see her behave so badly.   But she did.  (And as my wife pointed out, Daenerys promised tonight to do even more and worse.)  And, therefore, she deserved to die.

There were also parts of the finale that were downright trite.  Tyrion and the cabinet jabbering away as the last scene of Westeros was way too obvious.   It was good to see Jon reunited with his direwolf, but the walk beyond the Wall was also just as expected.   And there were scenes that were missing - such as how everyone came to know that Jon killed Dany, after Drogon carried away her body.   And who stopped Grey Worm from then killing Jon, which he surely would have done?  Presumably the council that chose Bran, but it would have been good to see that, rather than having to figure it out.

But most things were wrapped up ok in this series.  I still would've loved to see Arya's direwolf on that ship with her, though.



And see also Game of Thrones 6.1: Where Are the Dragons ... Game of Thrones 6.2: The Waking ... Game of Thrones 6.5: Origin of a Name ... Game of Thrones 6.6: The Exhortation ... Game of Thrones 6.7: Giveth and Taketh ... Game of Thrones 6.8: Strategic Advantage ... Game of Thrones 6.9: A Night for the Light ... Game of Thrones Season 6 Finale: That Library

And see also Game of Thrones 5.1: Unsetting the Table ... Game of Thrones 5.8: The Power of Frigid Death ... Game of Thrones 5.9: Dragon in Action; Sickening Scene with Stannis ... Game of Thrones Season 5 Finale: Punishment

And see also Games of Thrones Season 4 Premiere: Salient Points ... Game of Thrones 4.2: Whodunnit? ... Game of Thrones 4.3: Who Will Save Tyrion ...Game of Thrones 4.4: Glimpse of the Ultimate Battle ... Game of Thrones 4.6: Tyrion on Trial ... Game of Thrones 4.8: Beetles and Battle ...Game of Thrones 4.9: The Fight for Castle Black ... Games of Thrones Season 4 Finale: Woven Threads


And see also Game of Thrones Back in Play for Season 2 ... Game of Thrones 2.2: Cersei vs. Tyrion

And see also A Game of Thrones: My 1996 Review of the First Novel ... Game of Thrones Begins Greatly on HBO ... Game of Thrones 1.2: Prince, Wolf, Bastard, Dwarf ... Games of Thrones 1.3: Genuine Demons ... Game of Thrones 1.4: Broken Things  ... Game of Thrones 1.5: Ned Under Seige ... Game of Thrones 1.6: Molten Ever After ... Games of Thrones 1.7: Swiveling Pieces ... Game of Thrones 1.8: Star Wars of the Realms ... Game of Thrones 1.9: Is Ned Really Dead? ... Game of Thrones 1.10 Meets True Blood

And here's a Spanish article in Semana, the leading news magazine in Colombia, in which I'm quoted about explicit sex on television, including on Game of Thrones.

And see "'Game of Thrones': Why the Buzz is So Big" article in The Christian Science Monitor, 8 April 2014, with my quotes.

Also: CNN article, "How 'Game of Thrones' Is Like America," with quote from me


 


Line of Duty: Brilliant Hunt for Bent Coppers



I watched the first season of Line of Duty a few years ago, and my wife and I just binge-watched the next four seasons (on Acorn TV via Amazon Prime).   It's an outstanding series, with pretty much everything you could want in a police series - twisted loyalties, unexpected turns, and lots of action.

The protagonists are in a special squad that investigates and attempts to root out "bent" coppers (the series is British).  The antagonists are a ruthless, vicious mafia-like gang, with people placed in the highest echelons of all kinds of police detective units.   The questioning of suspects is the most intense and best I've ever seen in any cop series.  What we get just a bit of in most series is often center-stage and brilliant in Line of Duty.

The action is breathtaking, with major characters often on the verge of getting killed, and indeed sometimes dying.  The three most major characters are Superintendent Ted Hastings (played by Adrian Dunbar), DS (I love those British titles) Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), and DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McLure).  Actually, some of those titles change as the series progresses, but the acting stays constant at superb.   There are also some notable guest stars, my favorite being Polly Walker who made such a good impression in Rome.

The series also has a unique way of telling new stories each season while weaving in unresolved elements from prior seasons.   In that sense, as well as the very fast pace and short time period in which each season takes place, Line of Duty has a lot in common with 24, one of my all-time favorite series.

This fifth season just started streaming and aired last month across the Atlantic.  There's a six season coming along.  It's at the very top of my wife's and my series to watch.   Kudos to creator Jed Mercurio - who also did another powerhouse series, Bodyguard - for a great piece of work! 

 



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Knightfall Season 2: On the Precipice



I haven't had a chance to review each episode of season 2 of Knightfall on the History Channel, but I've seen and much enjoyed all eight episodes.   Herewith a review:

First, it's crucial to keep in mind that this series is about the fall - as per the title - and eventual eradication of the Knights Templar, so the arc is bound to be grim on balance.   Indeed, the eradication is more imminent than eventual, so the Templars are always on the verge of extinction, with victories and survival itself always wrestled from the jaws of destruction, and always in danger of being undone.

On the side of the Templars this season we have Mark Hamill as Talas, who does just what he does in Star Wars as an aged Luke.   His saving of the Templars from burning at the stake in the finale, with the help of the leper order that we saw earlier this season in one of its best episodes, was one of the best scenes of the series.

The general narrative, as it did last year, focuses on three knights in particular - Landry, Tancrede, and Gawain.  The three characters are well drawn and well acted by Tom Cullen, Simon Merrells, and Pádraic Delaney.  Their story arcs are well developed, too, with Tancrede finding love, Gawain pursuing revenge and then redemption, and Landry, as ever, being the leader even though he no longer formally has that post.

King Phillip of France is the prime opponent, amplifying his killing of his wife, the Queen, last season, because she was also Landry's lover, into an all-out drive to exterminate the Templars.  To get this done, he kills the Pope, and gets a new one installed in the Holy See, more likely to support his vengeful quest.  His son Prince Louis and his wife, as well as the Princess, play significant roles in the intrigue and (in Louis's case) the battles.   The epic conflict of faith, decency, and good verses rapacious evil has inevitable parallels to our own time.

At this point, the series's renewal for a third season is uncertain, much like the future of the Templars themselves in the time period depicted.   I'll just say that I really hope the series fares better than the Templars.

See also: Knightfall 1.1: Possibilities ... Knightfall 1.2: Grail and Tinder ... Knightfall 1.3: Baby ... Knightfall 1.4: Parentage ... Knightfall 1.5: Shrewd De Nogaret ... Knightfall 1.6: Turn of Fortunes ... Knightfall 1.7: Landry's Mother ... Knightfall 1.8: Crucial Moves ... Knightfall 1.9: "More Than You Think" ... Knightfall Season 1 Finale: Threading the Needle


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Enemy Within 1.12 Razor's Edge



I figured I'd check back in with a review of The Enemy Within, which posted its next-to-last episode of the season on NBC last night.  It was a good episode in its own right, and, even better, continued keeping us on the razor's edge about whether Shepherd is really working for us or Tal.

On the specific story last night: I like a Congresswoman who turns out to be former CIA black ops and can tote and shoot a gun with the best of them.   One of the most enjoyable facets of The Enemy Within is the way it's been able to introduce compelling new characters.

On the question of Shepherd's loyalty, which is the essence of the series: it seems to me that the only evidence we have of her loyalty to Tal are the conversations she's managed to have with him, by stealing a phone or whatever this season.  And I right?  Did I miss something?  Because if I didn't, there's not all that much reason to think her ultimate loyalty is to Tal.  After all, she could've been lying to him in those conversations.

There's of course no doubt that her goals are not identical to the FBI's or Keaton's.  Shepherd and Keaton both want Tal dead.   And Shepherd, rightly or wrongly, probably rightly, has more confidence in her ability to do that, than she does in Keaton's.   Or, at very least, she has more confidence in her ability to think-through how to get Tal.   And it's also likely that she's concluded that such a plan requires her to escape FBI confinement at the appropriate time.

That would result in the FBI, including even Keaton, turning against her.   I don't see how all of this can be resolved in the one remaining episode, and, at present, there's no word on the fate of the series.  I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next week, and to seeing a season 2 of The Enemy Within next year.

See also The Enemy Within 1.4: Microsoft AI ... The Enemy Within 1.5: The New Mole ... The Enemy Within 1.7: The Conversation ... The Enemy Within 1.8: Oranges (Think About It) ... The Enemy Within 1.9: CIA vs. FBI

 


Chernobyl 1.2: The Horror Movie



If I hadn't seen last week's first episode of Chernobyl, and had fallen asleep before the beginning of the second episode on HBO last night, and had woken up a few minutes into the episode, I'd have thought that I was watching a horror movie, or maybe a new apocalyptic series on AMC.

The second episode had all of the trimmings.  Almost all the powers-that-be misunderstanding and downplaying the grave threat.  A scientist or two, here and there, getting what was happening, urgently trying to alert everyone around them to the danger, being largely ignored.  And when they're finally listened to, at least some of the vulnerable populace is evacuated, but not everyone, including a dog running in vain after a departing bus.   And with a far worse, more monstrous catastrophe about to happen, three brave souls stepping up.

Except all of this really happened.  And it could happen again, since understanding one accident can never preclude another happening, for slightly different reasons.  I'm usually a champion of technology.  But I turned against nuclear power after Three Mile Island in 1979 near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  That was a partial meltdown.  And I wasn't surprised when the far worse accident happened at Chernobyl in 1986.

This mini-series is a stark reminder that we have take nature and our technologies which seek to harness it very seriously.  Because the truth is there is no complete harnessing of the natural world - not of atoms, not of genes, not of bacteria, not of you name it.  The best we can be is, yes, bold with technology in trying to improve out lot, but always wary of its unforeseen consequences.

See also: Chernobyl 1.1: The Errors of Arrogance

 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Killing Eve 2.6: Billie



Hey, I've been so caught up in Game of Thrones - reviewing and thinking about this finale season - that I see I've been remiss in reviewing Killing Eve.  But there are only two episodes left after tonight's this season, and tonight's was one of the best, so ...

Great new persona for Villanelle - Billie - working for Eve and the Brits, so she had to be something special and she is.  Billie has a passable American accent (about 80-90% right, I'd say), and her job is to get the goods on Aaron Peel, a British Mark Zuckerberg, if you get the picture. (Perfect timing, by the way - I checked the credits to see if Chris Hughes was a special consultant.)  Billie's accent isn't totally on key, but her killing instinct is, and in a scene that reminds Eve and us what we're dealing with, she hugs one of the women from her therapy group, on the sidewalk, and then throws her under a passing vehicle.   Villanelle hasn't lost her touch.

Eve hasn't either.  After her husband leaves her - I never liked him, anyway - she does a little spying on him, of course.  Turns out the reason he gave for leaving her - he can't take her dishonesty about her job, etc - was a lie.   The reason was the much more mundane he's having an affair.  And when Eve confronts the woman with Eve's husband, Eve gets off the best line in the episode, which serves as the title of the episode, "I Hope You Like Missionary!" It's great line, typifying the sharp repartee of the series.  I would've used it as the title for this review, but I like my titles to be a little different from the official titles of the episode.

The other significant exchange in tonight's hour was Villanelle telling Eve to back off with her criticism, advising "I don't like you that much," or words that effect (I'm not in the mood to look back it).  That gives us an important indication of the limits of Villanelle's infatuation with Eve.

Next week is the series finale of Game of Thrones, so who knows what I'll be doing with Eve.  But I'll definitely be here with a review the week after, and, who knows, maybe next week after all.

See also Killing Eve 2.1: Libido and Thanatos ... Killing Eve 2.2: Villanelle as Victim ... Killing Eve 2.3 Lipstick

And see also Killing Eve: Highly Recommended (Season 1)


Sunday, May 12, 2019

Game of Thrones 8.5: Revenge and Fire not Sweet



Well, we now know that Varys was right in his view that Jon would make a better ruler than Daenerys:  she slaughtered thousands of innocent people with her dragon's fire, in her quest to destroy Cersei and everything that was hers.

Daenerys had motivation, for sure.  She lost one of her children in the sky last week, shot down by one of Euron's war machines.   She lost Missandei last week, too.   She was right to want revenge.  But by any standard of decency and humanity, she went way too far in exacting it.

Tyrion, a man of reason to the core, underestimated that.   So did Jon.  So did everyone else, except Grey Worm, who also had ample motive for revenge.   The best you could say about Daenerys's siege and destruction of Cersei's beloved city is the meta-point that it made for some memorable battles.

Jamie vs. Euron was a good one.  The Hound vs the Giant was even better.   So, who survived this carnage?   Arya definitely.  Her riding out of the dragon-produced rubble on a horse was one of the best scenes of the night.   Tyrion's still alive.  So is Jon, who gave the timely order to get out of there.  Jamie and Cersei are probably gone, though we didn't see either of them actually dead.   The same for the Hound and the southern Giant (I can't recall, but don't think he's related to the giants beyond the wall in the North).

But back to Jon: he's now amply motivated to take Varys's advice and challenge Daenerys for the Iron Throne.  But not when she has her dragon beside her.   I suppose there's also a chance he could just walk away from it all and go live with the wildlings.   And there's still Sansa at Winterfell, who may come down south to join her sister Arya and convince Jon to take the throne.  Or ...

See you here next week, when maybe we'll also learn what happened to Arya's direwolf.



And see also Game of Thrones 6.1: Where Are the Dragons ... Game of Thrones 6.2: The Waking ... Game of Thrones 6.5: Origin of a Name ... Game of Thrones 6.6: The Exhortation ... Game of Thrones 6.7: Giveth and Taketh ... Game of Thrones 6.8: Strategic Advantage ... Game of Thrones 6.9: A Night for the Light ... Game of Thrones Season 6 Finale: That Library

And see also Game of Thrones 5.1: Unsetting the Table ... Game of Thrones 5.8: The Power of Frigid Death ... Game of Thrones 5.9: Dragon in Action; Sickening Scene with Stannis ... Game of Thrones Season 5 Finale: Punishment

And see also Games of Thrones Season 4 Premiere: Salient Points ... Game of Thrones 4.2: Whodunnit? ... Game of Thrones 4.3: Who Will Save Tyrion ...Game of Thrones 4.4: Glimpse of the Ultimate Battle ... Game of Thrones 4.6: Tyrion on Trial ... Game of Thrones 4.8: Beetles and Battle ...Game of Thrones 4.9: The Fight for Castle Black ... Games of Thrones Season 4 Finale: Woven Threads


And see also Game of Thrones Back in Play for Season 2 ... Game of Thrones 2.2: Cersei vs. Tyrion

And see also A Game of Thrones: My 1996 Review of the First Novel ... Game of Thrones Begins Greatly on HBO ... Game of Thrones 1.2: Prince, Wolf, Bastard, Dwarf ... Games of Thrones 1.3: Genuine Demons ... Game of Thrones 1.4: Broken Things  ... Game of Thrones 1.5: Ned Under Seige ... Game of Thrones 1.6: Molten Ever After ... Games of Thrones 1.7: Swiveling Pieces ... Game of Thrones 1.8: Star Wars of the Realms ... Game of Thrones 1.9: Is Ned Really Dead? ... Game of Thrones 1.10 Meets True Blood

And here's a Spanish article in Semana, the leading news magazine in Colombia, in which I'm quoted about explicit sex on television, including on Game of Thrones.

And see "'Game of Thrones': Why the Buzz is So Big" article in The Christian Science Monitor, 8 April 2014, with my quotes.

Also: CNN article, "How 'Game of Thrones' Is Like America," with quote from me



"I was here, in Carthage, three months from now ..."


Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Red Line 1.1-4: Bursting with Crucial Lessons for Our Age



My wife and I caught up with the first four episodes of The Red Line - shown on two evenings - and found the mini-series powerful and important, addressing more than one crucial issue of our time.  I was going to say that The Red Line is especially good for a non-cable traditional network - it's on CBS - but the truth is it's especially good for all television media, including cable and streaming services.

The trigger that starts the story is a young white cop in Chicago shooting and killing a black MD in a convenience store, mistakenly believing the MD, who was actually trying to help the store owner, was about to kill him.   This opens a wrenching black-lives-matter narrative (see my two videos that address that subject, here and here.)   But there's much more to this story.

Harrison, the MD who is killed, is not only African-American.  He's gay, and happily married to Daniel, a white high school teacher.  They have an adopted daughter, and we soon learn that Jira, also African American, now has a special need to get to know her mother.   She's the only one that Jira can relate to as an African-American living in Chicago.   This brings us into another significant part of this story - parent-child relationships, and their special complexity when the child is adopted, even more  complex when adopted by parents who are gay, and one is black and the other white.

But there's even more.  Jira's mother, Tia, is running to be on the Chicago City Council - a position as Adlerman - and this pitches us into no-holds-barred Chicago politics.   Her opponent has been there for decades, and is not only a grand old man, but someone willing to do anything to keep his seat.

The three threads - fast-on-the-trigger Chicago cops, family relationships, and down-and-dirty big city politics - are woven together well, with Tia meeting her daughter at memorial event for Harrison at which Daniel is speaking, Tia being threatened by white cops who don't appreciate her criticism of the CPD, etc.   The acting is superb, with special creds to Noah Wyle as Daniel, Emayatzy Corinealdi as Tia, and Aliyah Royale as Jira.  This is a series bursting with lessons necessary for our age.  Highly recommended.

I'll be back here in the weeks ahead with more reviews.  There are a lot of questions yet unanswered in this compelling series, a lot of relationships as yet unexplored or even revealed.  On that last point, I'll hazard a prediction.  We don't yet know the identity of Jira's biological father.   I'm thinking it would be a wild but logical twist if her biological father was none other than Harrison.

 

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