With writing, timing is everything. Being in the right place at the right time.
Above: Benito Martinez — photo credit American Crime.
This powerful sneak peek trailer for a new television drama American Crime was heart wrenching for me to see. American Crime will be premiering this upcoming THURSDAY MARCH 5 10|9c on ABC.
3 things came across my thoughts while watching the impassioned performance from both Johnny Ortiz and Benito Martinez in the trailer:
1) I put myself in the shoes of the parent (Benito Martinez) whose kid was being detained for the allegation of murder. The young man (Johnny Ortiz) was complaining about his father being overbearing — but the patriarch made no apologies for his strict parenting.
2) As the authorities were separating the child from his father in light of the allegation, I thought of the immigrants who were and are separated from relatives because of a clearly broken immigration system the Republicans have stalled and refused to fix. The broken immigration system criminalizes hard working immigrant fathers and mothers who were forced to be torn apart from their children until the Obama administration used his executive powers to give some relief to these families.
3) Lastly, I thought about a friend of mine – Joaquin, who was falsely accused of a crime. My childhood friend had not yet even met the “victim” who was living in another state during the time of the allegation. I watched Joaquin’s mom and dad go through a living personal hell and watched them stand by the side of their only son.
In this American Crime Podcast hosted by film critic and radio personality Elvis Mitchell, you get to hear a 30 minute interview of the show creator John Ridley and Executive Producer Michael McDonald who discuss the series. American Crime centers around the brutal attack of a young couple in Modesto, California. Matt Skokie, a war vet, is murdered, and his wife, Gwen, is left unconscious, barely hanging on. The crime sends shock waves throughout the community stirring up tensions across socioeconomic and racial lines in this gritty new drama — from the points of view of all those involved. “It’s not about the police. It’s not about the prosecutors. It’s really about the family,” creator John Ridley says.
Essentially Ridley stated this drama was about familia and how a 3 a.m. phone call in the middle of the night can happen to anyone.
The sneak peek managed to capture a patriarch caring father chastising his son who was being detained — yet while they were taking his son away to jail after being charged for murder, you saw the hard ass of a dad turn into a very different emotional state. No matter what, the dad was going to be there for his boy to ensure he received a fair trial. You could see it in Benito’s eyes and his acting was moving.
Through the lens of a Chicana, I believe American Crime will captivate the tough love we see in ourselves an what we would do for the protection of our kids, family or friends. Often times in our culture, I see tough love displayed through discipline and/or the sheer defense of those we love in order for them to survive. Kids are our livelihood and many of us know we would die for our children no matter what.
Joseph JT Campos (playing Bruno the immigrant border jumper in the American Crime series) is an actor who made me aware of this new television drama and I’m glad he did because the sneak peak is powerfully irresistible.
I encourage my readers to watch American Crime this upcoming Thursday on ABC.