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Saturday, January 23, 2016

American Crime 2.1-3: So Real It Hurts

Checking in with a review of American Crime, now three episodes in to its second season on ABC.   Like the first season, which drilled down on a brutal murder and its ugly repercussions not only in the criminal police system but on family relations, racial relations, and diverse elements of life in today's America, the second season holds back nothing as it delves into a rape in high school - the rape of a boy who wants to be on the basketball team by at least one of the guys on the team or who wants to be on the team, at a hazing party.

So in addition to the racial and family tensions which propelled the first season, we have the big business and sacrifice and sleaze of high school sports in this second season.  As in the first season, just about everyone is culpable of something, including the victim's mother, driven to get some sort of reckoning for her son, not just because she's seeking justice, but because she's driven by guilt over some earlier development in the family, as yet unknown.

Connor Jessup - last seen in Falling Skies - is doing a fine job as Taylor Blaine, the victim, who would just as soon forget what happened rather than see himself headlined in the social media, one of the biggest destructive forces in this story.  Taylor's mother is powerfully played by Lili Taylor, from the first season, but with a much bigger role.  Regina King, Timothy Hutton, Felicity Huffman, Elvis Nolasco, and Richard Cabral are also back from the first season, in completely different roles.

At this point, Regina King's Terri LaCroix has been the most stand-out, as the mother of one of team's co-captains - at the hazing party, but not necessarily part of the rape - at least, not as far as we know at this point. Terri and her husband and son are in the upper middle class - professional and executive - and her attempt to keep her son on the right path, her struggle as both the mother of a teenage boy and the mother of a teenage African-American boy with talent and intelligence and everything to lose, is a masterpiece of subtle, complex, heart-rending drama in itself.

As was the case in the first season, there's nothing else quite like American Crime on any kind of television.   As such it makes a much needed and unique contribution, and more than holds its own with anything on cable or even streaming TV.

See alsoAmerican Crime, American Fine ... American Crime 1.7: The Truest Love ... American Crime 1.10: The Exquisite Hazards of Timing ... American Crime Season 1 Finale: The Banality of So-Called Justice

a different kind of crime

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