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TV Tuesday: American Crime, Season 3

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 15:22
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Book By Book

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Although I already reviewed American Crime last year, during season 2, I wanted to review season 3 separately because – as was the case for season 1 also – it is wholly unique and stand-alone.

American Crime is a unique approach to a TV series, as each season is a completely separate story, with no connection at all to previous seasons. In essence, each season acts kind of like a mini-series. The only thing the seasons have in common is a handful of top actors, including Timothy Hutton, Felicity Huffman, Regina King, and Lily Taylor (though they play different characters each season). Each season of the show zeroes in on one aspect of crime in America. Seasons 1 and 2 each focused on one particular crime, with complex underpinnings, including racial tensions, and many shades of gray (a home invasion gone wrong in the first season and a male rape at a high school party in the second). Season 3 varies a bit from that formula, instead focusing in on one community and looking at multiple forms of criminal activity occurring there. Several storylines deal with immigrants, while another one focuses in on human trafficking (which, of course, can also affect immigrants).

So, in season 3, there are multiple storylines that are separate but intersect in one way or another, all taking place in one community in North Carolina. In the first episode, we meet Alonzo Gutierrez, played by Benito Martinez, who has struggled to get into the United States illegally from Mexico. He is looking for his beloved son, who left home as a teenager. All he knows is that he ended up working on a farm in North Carolina. Alonzo ends up on the Hesby farm, where he finds some people who recognize the photo of his son, so he begins working there as a migrant worker. The Hesby family has run this farm for generations, but they are now struggling to survive, with pressure to continually reduce costs to preserve a small profit. Matriarch Laurie Ann, played by Cherry Jones, runs the farm with an iron fist, determined not to lose her family's legacy. As you might have guessed, the pressure to cut costs results in hiring migrant workers for less and less pay and appalling living conditions.

Meanwhile, in the city, underage teen Shae is working for a pimp, selling her body to survive. One night, a john beats her, and when the police come, she is put into the hands of Kimara, played by Regina King, a social worker who is devoted to saving kids like Shae, all while she struggles to try to get pregnant herself. Kimara wants to help her new charge, but Shae's not sure she wants to be helped.

A few more episodes in, we meet Clare Coates, played by Lily Taylor, a wealthy woman who has hired a Haitian immigrant named Gabrielle to care for her beloved son. Gabrielle doesn't speak English, but Claire hopes that she can teach her young son French. Her husband, Nicholas, played by Timothy Hutton, owns a furniture company (another classic North Carolina industry) that is also struggling to make a profit, and he thinks it's absurd to hire a nanny who can't speak English.

It might sound confusing, but these storylines are each fleshed out as the season continues, and we get to know the characters. In some cases, there are intersections between the stories, as when Kimara gives a speech to a group of wealthy families, which includes Clair and Nicholas, to explain the tragedy of human trafficking and how resources are needed to help the victims.

As with previous seasons, the production qualities are very high, with excellent acting and writing, and I soon found myself drawn into these disparate lives and caring about the characters. One of the things I like best about this remarkable series is how thought-provoking it is, digging deep into complex issues and looking at the shades of gray that are often overlooked. For instance, we see the horrible conditions of the migrant workers on the farm but also the desperation of the owning family not to lose their business. I am only on episode 5 (of 10), so I am interested to see what will happen next. These are all compelling stories with plenty of suspense and unexpected twists that make me think more deeply about the complexity of the issues facing our society today.

There are 6 episodes out so far this season, and all of them are still available On Demand (the first one comes off on May 30), and episodes 2 through 6 are also available for free on the ABC website. American Crime is also available on Amazon for $1.99 per episode or $14.99 for the entire season (and the first two seasons are also available there). So, you could pay $1.99 for episode 1 and then watch the rest for free on the ABC website.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhhaNAZAwR0

         



Source: http://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2017/04/tv-tuesday-american-crime-season-3.html

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