FOX’s new hit series, “Shots Fired” speaks to the heart of racism, but from another perspective. It centers on a community of different races in North Carolina who are struggling with the police and civilian relationship that has long been a tainted reality in America. The idea of police shooting an unarmed victim has become a realism that has mostly dominated African-American neighborhoods. “Shots Fired” covers this racially charged epidemic, which has become a crisis in America, from a different angle.
In recent years, there have been many fatal cases of unarmed black men interacting with law enforcement. The loss of Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Dontre Hamilton, Michael Brown, Walter Scott, and Eric Garner are a few who appear to reinforce an epidemic that has many within the black community fearful of a routine traffic stop. The creators of the new FOX series wanted to tackle the issue head on but decided to reverse the races.
This epidemic that has plagued the African-American community is not foreign to Caucasian localities but is definitely not as common. This injustice has forced people of color into a new normal of heightened fear. Black America has found itself in between two extremes of racism. One is the denial of it and the other pushes the race card inappropriately. Race relations in the country is not a figment of anyone’s imagination nor is it a revelation. It is an unfortunate, but constant reality.
“Shots Fired” targets this catastrophe head-on, but comes from a different angle. The goal of the show’s creators is to create an empathetic mindset with viewers who may not truly understand the impact it has in the African-American community. The show centers on a black officer who is being “targeted” for shooting an unarmed white teen. In the midst of the investigation, a “hidden” agenda is revealed. Viewers will quickly realize the show mirrors reality and the timing of its release is perfect.
With the help of an all-star cast, the new show unpacks institutionalized racism in an interesting way while attempting to open the dialogue on the vital topic of racial disparity. Sanaa Lathan, Richard Dreyfuss, Stephen Moyer, and Helen Hunt are a few of the lead actors who make “Shots Fired” appear so real. Racism is arguably the most controversial topic of the 21st Century, with President Trump running a close second. The show follows a script but the issues it explores and the reference points used are very much real.
“Shots Fired” shadows two investigators, played by Lathan and Stephen James, who are sent to a small town in North Carolina to scrutinize the killing of the unarmed white teen. However, just three weeks prior, a black unarmed teen also died at the hands of law enforcement in the same town. While investigating the original shooting, the duo learns that the police department sought to cover killing the black teenager. The community, which is most African-American, begin asking where the investigative force was when the black victim lost his life.
The series began on March 22 and has 10 episodes. An extremely topical show that does not shy away from presenting and attempting to answer the many questions surrounding the connection between race and injustice. While it does not take sides, it does a great job of pointing out the negative and positive from both sides. The goal of “Shots Fired” is to speak to the racism crisis in America from a different angle.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Karen Civil: When Art Becomes Reality: ‘Shots Fired’ Comes at an Important time in our Society
Sling TV: FOX’s ‘Shots Fired’ Raises The Bar for Police Dramas in An Important Way
Romper: Is ‘Shots Fired’ Based On A True Story? The New Series Flips A Familiar Script
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