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Unraveling Hour One Of ‘Shots Fired’

March 22, 2017

WARNING—Spoilers ahead.

There are levels to this. That was my first thought after screening Reggie Rock Bythewood and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s ambitious mini-series “Shots Fired” for the second time. At first glance, the series appears to be an inverted tale, ripped straight from the headlines. In the fictional town of Gate Station, North Carolina (where 65% of its citizens are Black), an unarmed white college student has been gunned down by the only Black deputy, Josh Beck (Mack Wilds). Since it’s an election year and she can’t bear to have “another Ferguson” on her hands, North Carolina’s liberal female governor (Helen Hunt), calls in the big guns to help manage the crisis before everything bursts at the seams.

Enter Ashe Akino (Sanaa Lathan), a fixer and private investigator and special prosecutor Preston Terry (Stephen James), an unlikely pair hired by the Department of Justice at the request of the governor. As the two begin to try and unravel what exactly has happened, they are left with way more questions than answers. Quite frankly, so am I. As I said when I first screened the pilot way back in September, this is only the road map, and we don’t quite know where it’s going to lead.

There are several things still buzzing around my consciousness, after screening “Hour One.” Despite the fact that Wilds’ Deputy Beck seems naïve and remorseful, the video of him declaring to kill “crackers” unveils an entirely different side of him. It’s also extremely puzzling to me why he would choose to go into law enforcement in a community where he is the only Black face on the force. I realize that cops live and die by their code, but something just isn’t right here.

Continue reading at Shadow and Act.