I had the immense pleasure of being invited to an advance viewing of Fox’s new drama Shots Fired in Atlanta on March 2nd and when I say the first episode had me on the edge of my seat, know that I am not exaggerating. I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation of what mind blowing thing would happen next.
Shots Fired is a 10-episode miniseries, premiering March 22nd right before the season premiere of Empire, following Preston Terry (Stephan James Selma, Race), a special prosecutor, and Ashe Akino (Sanna Lathan Love and Basketball, Now You See Me 2), an investigator, looking into the shooting of an unarmed white college student by a black cop in small town North Carolina. During their investigation, they discover the covering up of a black teenager’s murder.
Husband and wife creator team, Reggie Rock Bythewood (Beyond the Lights, Notorious) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees) developed the show after being approached by Fox after the 2014 shooting of the African-American teenager, Michael Brown. According to Bythewood, he came up with the premise after remembering conversations with his son following the George Zimmerman trial.
According to Bythewood, he and his son saw the acquittal of Zimmerman and his son was confused on how the man could get away with murder. In response, Bythewood pulled up a documentary on Emmett Till on YouTube, before leading a discussion on the American justice system in relation to African-Americans.
On the surface it is merely a mystery show, trying to solve who murdered Joey Campbell and why Jesse Carr was killed. Upon closer look, it is so much more. The show is described by the creators as a “whodunit and a whydunit” meant to be an “autopsy of a town like Ferguson.” It does not hesitate to tackle matters such as race and socio-economic status while providing a dramatic and at times comedic, story.
Beyond the core mystery, viewers are also drawn into the drama surrounding Preston and Ashe’s personal lives. He is dealing with living under the shadow of an NFL playing brother and the tension that comes with sibling relations, while she must confront her own inner demons and fight to stay in her young daughter’s life.
Shots Fired promises to exceed expectations every week, presenting audiences with more engaging and complex episodes as the mini-series goes on. This show will definitely have audiences talking about the state of the relationship between police and citizens before the end of the first episode. According to Stephen Moyer, who plays a Sheriff on the show, “From the very first episode, you’re dealing with a lot of areas most shows don’t do. This is not black and white, it’s very gray. There’s a muddy center in all this.” If that doesn’t get you hype for this show, I don’t know what will.
The show also stars Helen Hunt (Mad About You, Twister), Stephan Moyer(True Blood), Richard Dreyfuss(Madoff, Jaws), Aisha Hinds (Underground, Under the Dome), Jill Hennessy (Madam Secretary, Crossing Jordan), and DeWanda Wise(Underground).
Shots Fired aires on Wednesday, March 22nd on Fox at 8/7c.