A fifteen year old black kid gets run over by a man in a blue SUV and is left for dead, bleeding out on a ditch. In the background, the Statue of Liberty can be seen, her back to the gruesome scene of the crime. For the New Jersey press, this is just another gang banger downed by drug war violence. To his parents, he is a life cut too short; a peaceful and gentle soul that loved papier maché seagulls. Detectives investigating the case get caught in a web of lies, cover ups and conspiracies that makes the viewer wonder if they will ever find the people responsible.
In a shocking twist of events, the Jersey City Police Department’s star narcotics officers become pivotal to the development of the story, especially when the kid dies of his sustained injuries. Why was he left for dead? Why didn’t the perpetrator stop to render assistance? Was it because the kid was black? With very poignant nuances and gut wrenching, eye opening moments, the series takes us on a journey of introspection about tensions between the police, the black community, and those who support each side.
Caught in the middle of it all is the Assistant Prosecutor KJ Harper (Claire-Hope Ashitey) who comes from an affluent background, is black, and an alcoholic. Her past failures have led to a reputation that challenges her competence and resolve to find justice for the deceased’s family. By the time the trial rolls around, the civil unrest has taken over the city sparking a debate about the value of black lives, the effectiveness of police in low income drug ridden communities, and the ability of the government to keep the peace and find a middle ground to attack the problems social class disparity has caused in the East Precinct.
If you like shows like How To Get Away with Murder and Law and Order, this show is right for you. With a 74% fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes, you cannot go wrong by giving it a quick peak. The ending was so emotionally raw and infuriating that I am still shocked and frustrated by the end result, especially since it opens the door for a second season. The women empowerment and equality elements were beautifully executed in a way that is not for the weak of heart or for those not ready to open their minds and be woke by the narrative.