As usual, I was late to these Netflix series–I watched Bodyguard first, because Richard Madden.
I saw him play a total bastard in Rocketman, remembered that he’d won a Golden Globe for Bodyguard, and my friend had already watched it and told me it was good, so I watched it.
Hooked from the first scene, guys. It’s a tense thriller sort of thing, where David Budd, an ex-British Army solider who served in Afghanistan, is suffering from PTSD. He works for the Metropolitan police force in their Royalty and Special Protection branch and he is assigned to be the personal protection officer for the war-hawk Home Secretary. So good. There are a lot of twists and turns and episode six had me on the edge of my seat, mouth wide open, and I literally forgot that I was watching Richard Madden in a TV show–it was just crying David Budd and I was freaking out along with him.
When They See Us, written and directed by Ava DuVernay, was released in May and I watched it last weekend. I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s so sad and brutal and powerful, but it’s absolutely necessary viewing.
When They See Us is a very New York story.
In April 1989, a young woman, who’d gone jogging in Central Park, was raped in Central Park. That same evening, a group of thirty or so teenaged black and brown boys were hanging out in the northern parts of the park. Some of the boys started taunting bicyclists and mugging people and beat some people up and the police were called. The cops rounded up a group of the boys and brought them into the station for questioning. A few hours later, the jogger was found. The investigators lumped the boys in the park with the woman, picked up a few more boys, and began questioning them–14, 15, 16 year olds, without their parents, without attorneys. In particular, they zeroed in on Kevin Richardson, 14; Raymond Santana, 14; Antron McCray, 15; Yusef Salaam, 15; and Korey Wise, 16, just went to the police station to support Yusef, his friend, and got caught up in this whole mess.
I was three years old in 1989, so clearly, I don’t remember the Central Park Five case as it was happening. I’ve certainly heard of it growing up, though. I vaguely remember hearing about the case and convictions being overturned, when I was in high school. I know the city was a crime-ridden mess in the 1980s. But I didn’t really know details, so it was particularly interesting to watch a miniseries that took place within my lifetime, but not in my memory. And it was also infuriating because those boys didn’t do anything. They were coerced into giving false confessions. DNA was sort of new in those days and there was DNA in this case, but it didn’t match any of the boys. And the real attacker wasn’t caught and continued to assault women in Central Park and the East Side of Manhattan for months afterward.