Loaded weapon

Shots Fired takes aim at how race and eco­nomics de­ter­mine justice in court and the me­dia.

TV Plus (South Africa) - - DRAMA -

The idea be­hind Shots Fired (2017cur­rent) seems oddly sim­ple: let’s make view­ers who’d nor­mally ig­nore #Black­LivesMat­ter pay at­ten­tion to the is­sue of racial pro­fil­ing in polic­ing by race-swap­ping and hav­ing a black cop shoot a white kid. And series co- cre­ator Gina Prince-Bythe­wood ad­mits that yes, that ac­tu­ally is part of why the story is writ­ten this way. “It’s very easy for peo­ple to watch the news and see a piece about a shoot­ing – if you don’t iden­tify with who is on­screen, you just turn it off. Flip­ping the nar­ra­tive lets folks who don’t nor­mally iden­tify with th­ese char­ac­ters em­pathise with them. Through em­pa­thy, you can get change,” she ex­plains.

BE­HIND THE DOOR

While look­ing into cop Joshua Beck’s (Tris­tan Wilds) shoot­ing of white stu-

dent Jess Carr in episode 1, the Justice De­part­ment also finds ev­i­dence that a pre­vi­ous killing – of black man named Joey Campbell (Kelvin Har­ri­son Ju­nior) – has been cov­ered up. And that can of worms about how dif­fer­ently the killings are treated spills out over the 10 episodes. “In deal­ing with the mur­ders, we were able to tackle the way that the com­mu­nity, me­dia, law en­force­ment and justice sys­tem deal with cases based on race,” says Gina.

KILLER CHAR­AC­TERS

The cases af­fect ev­ery­one in town, rich or poor, black or white. Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tors Akino and Terry (Sanaa Lathan and Stephan James) find out that ev­ery­one has an agenda. But for our money, it’s the dead boys’ grief­stricken moms Shameeka Campbell and Ali­cia Carr (DeWanda Wise and Jill Hen­nessy) whose per­for­mances tell the real story. “The na­ture, where its real-life as­pects are so heart­break­ing, is that it height­ens the emo­tions for ev­ery char­ac­ter,” says Gina. “Th­ese women would’ve never crossed paths but are sud­denly mem­bers of a club that no one wants to be in. Their story and truth felt real to us.”

Pas­tor Janae James (Aisha Hinds) meets the press fol­low­ing the shoot­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.