TCA Panel: American Crime Explores Tragedy from All Sides

American Crime
American Crime Writer/Executive Producer John Ridley

This morning at TCAs, we were introduced to the explosive new show “American Crime” a dynamic drama from Academy Award-winning writer John Ridley (12 year a Slave) and Executive Producer Michael McDonald.

The drama features a virtual glut of talent including Timothy Hutton, Felicity Huffman, Regina King, Benito Martinez and Penelope Ann Miller and the 11 episode series follows the fallout of a brutal crime and the shockwaves it send through the community and the racial and socioeconomic tensions that that it stirs up.

A young couple in Modesto, California were brutally attacked in their home leaving a war vet murdered, and his wife in a coma. As their families deal with their grief, the investigation continues and suspects are identified. Each of the show’s characters is presented as a well-rounded person, and as their humanity and backstories are revealed, we find that the stories and motivation of all of each of the characters aren’t exactly as originally perceived.

This new drama examines preconceptions on faith, family, gender, race, class and other aspects of our social experience. Ridley explains, “When all else falls away. Sometimes faith is all that’s left.”

American Crime
American Crime stars Richard Cabral as Hector Tontz, Elvis Nolasco as Carter Nix, Caitlin Gerard as Aubry Taylor, Johnny Ortiz as Tony Gutiérrez, Benito Martinez as Alonzo Gutiérrez, Timothy Hutton as Russ Skokie, Felicity Huffman as Barb Hanlon, W. Earl Brown as Tom Carlin and Penelope Ann Miller as Eve Carlin.

What sets American Crime apart from what’s currently on TV is the permission granted to each of the series’ characters to be real people. Unlike other crime dramas where villains are simply painted with a wide brushstroke, in American Crime, those roles occupy much more of the plot and these storylines, and the drama they represent, “can’t be resolved in 45 minutes,” says Ridley. “We want to make characters, not caricatures.”

Actor Timothy Hutton, who plays the father of the murder victim, says he’s never been apart of a project like this. “It was clear that this wasn’t going to be about the outcome of an investigation. But rather focus on the details of these everyday people who all intersect due to this tragedy. We follow not only what they do, but what they do in a daily basis and how they move on and thorough their lives.”

The series will unfold over 11 episodes, and like HBO’s True Detective, and future seasons may revolve around a different crime featuring a largely new cast.

American Crime Cast photo© ABC/Bob D’Amico
John Ridley image © ABC/Image Group LA