Series: Seven Seconds
Created by: Veena Sud
Starring: Clare-Hope Ashitey, Michael Mosley, Russell Hornsby, Regina King, Beau Knapp
Running Time: 57 minutes
Genre: Thriller, Drama
Where to Watch: Netflix
Seven Seconds comes from Veena Sud, creator of the excellent series ‘The Killing.’ If you are expecting a second dose of that show, you may find yourself a bit disappointed with her latest offering. Seven Seconds is a different kind of show although it remains just as gritty, swapping locations from dark and rainy Seattle to a colder and snowier New Jersey.
What she failed to resolve in the first season of ‘The Killing’ that disappointed fans she corrects in the first few minutes of this new Netflix Original series. Always reliable filmmaker Gavin O’Connor sets the tone, directing the first episode of this ten-part series.
A white police officer speeding to the hospital to witness the birth of his first born on a snowy day, in a park accidentally hits and kills a 15-year-old black teenage boy. In shock, he relies on his new group of partners in the gang enforcement unit to advise him on what to do.
Under the car lays only the bike, a style of bike which is known to these officers as affiliated with a local drug gang the “Kings.” With Ferguson, Baltimore and so many cities falling to riots and the media narrative that will play out if they call the accident in, he’s convinced just to drive away.
Of course, things go sideways when a Detective (Michael Mosley) takes the case and is partnered up with a damaged, alcoholic Assistant District Attorney (Clare-Hope Ashitey). The two quickly realize things aren’t what they seem which leads them on an investigation to uncover the truth at whatever cost.
Meanwhile, the family of the boy is grief-stricken, his mother (Regina King) disconnects seeking her own answers, while her husband (Russell Hornsby) grieves using his strength of faith & God. The boy’s Uncle is a returning Air Force veteran and former gang member of the “Kings” crew.
The only witness, an affluent young teenage girl with a heroin addiction, is critical to the investigation but comes with plenty of obvious problems.
What was the boy doing in the park, what did the witness see, was it a hate crime, how far are the detective and prosecutor willing to go after the ones they work with every day. How much will a grieving mother push herself to get answers? As the series continues, some surprises and twist keep things thrilling and exciting. The final few episodes of the series make for a gripping court drama.
Regina King is fine in the role of the grieving mother, but the stars of the series are Michael Mosley (Fences) & Russell Hornsby (Ozark, Sirens). Clare-Hope Ashitey as the ADA does her best with what is a poorly written character whose motives aren’t exactly clear as she bounces around from blackout drunk to justice warrior.
The series wants to tackle tough subjects, almost too many which is its biggest problem. It wants to make statements on race relations, police corruption, the “Baltimore effect,” our justice system, family bonds, and more but doesn’t quite find it’s way after ten episodes.
It does, however, try to wrap things up and resolve everything nicely, so I’m not sure if this is a one-off or if there will be another season.
Final Word: It would have been a better series and made for a more compelling morality tale if the police gang unit wasn’t Vic Mackey and the Strike team level corrupt. These are dangerous police officers and evil men who will go to any lengths to cover up their tracks. It want’s to talk about race relations and the justice system, but the ADA makes mistakes along the way trying to turn this into a race issue and hate crime when it’s obviously neither.
There are some strange subplots involving the father’s brother and the young boy’s Uncle who is a returning Veteran of the Air Force, who instantly goes back to his old gangways of corner dealing. We’re never really told his history with his brother, other than he was a gang member and his rush to push to drugs after serving our Country is a baffling character choice.
The so-called ‘Blue Wall of Silence’ that police protect their own is so overplayed to the point that it comes across as ridiculous in 2018.
So is ‘Seven Seconds’ worth your time? I’d say so, even given my problems with the series. The acting is solid, the story is gripping, and I breezed through the ten episodes over the weekend.
Check Out the Trailer Below: