DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

KIM AKASS

MONIQUE NAZARETH

ROGER CATLIN

GARY EDGERTON

TOM BRINKMOELLER

GERALD JORDAN

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
'Seven Seconds' from Netflix on How Life Can Change in an Instant
February 23, 2018  | By David Hinckley  | 2 comments
 


The new Netflix crime anthology Seven Seconds, which becomes available Friday, echoes a number of similar series in recent years and proves there’s always room for another good one.

Created by Veena Sud, who is best known for The Killing, Seven Seconds dives into the tangled grey areas of a complex crime case while starkly illustrating how one impulsive bad decision can topple dozens of cruel and even lethal dominoes.

Peter Jablonski (Beau Knapp, left) is a Jersey City cop who’s worried about his pregnant wife. When we meet him, he’s driving his SUV down an icy road in a park near the Statue of Liberty, making anxious phone calls.

He spins out. When he stops he’s okay, but when he gets out to look over his car, he sees the wheels of a bicycle sticking out from underneath. The spin may have taken only seven seconds, but Pete instantly understands that the consequences will be far more enduring.

He glances around at the snowy ground and sees no sign of a rider. Dazed and confused, he calls his cop buddy Mike Diangelo (David Lyons), who shows up with two other pals.

They see someone lying in a snowbank on the side of the road. There’s no sign of motion. Mike tells Pete to leave. There were no witnesses and there’s nothing he can do for the kid, Mike assures him. Pete should go to his wife, act like nothing happened. Mike will take care of the rest.

Except, of course, it’s not that simple. Hours later a dog being taken for a walk finds the body in the snowbank, except it turns out the body, one Brenton Butler, isn’t at this point dead. He’s just been lying in freezing cold with grievous injuries for several hours.

This heartbreaking fact isn’t lost on his parents, Latrice and Isaiah Butler (Regina King and Russell Hornsby). When they visit him in the hospital, we don’t even see Brenton. All we see is their reactions. It’s a bold and powerful scene.

So Latrice and Isaiah want some answers, as does Brenton’s uncle Seth (Zackary Momoh) who just returned from serving in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the case has been assigned to prosecutor K.J. Harper (Clare-Hope Ashitey, top), a smart woman who’s been driven to drink by the frustrations of her job. The number of cases she has to handle leave her mostly shuffling paperwork, she says, without even the pretense of seeking justice.

Her drinking isn’t lost on the detective who’s assigned to the case, a sort-of wiseguy named Joe “Fish” Rinaldi (Michael Mosley, left, with Ashitey).

Mike hands them the case he wants them to prosecute, and the way the system works, ordinarily that would be enough to get it pushed right through. But with the parents hovering, a few inconvenient factoids popping up, and some of the protagonists feeling moral ambivalence, that doesn’t immediately happen.

Instead these complications will slowly roll out, and often compound each other, over 10 episodes. It’s not a spoiler to say that the white cop / black victim dynamic pops quickly to the forefront.  

In keeping with the pattern of TV crime anthologies, most of the characters become multi-dimensional. While some are better people than others, everyone has flaws.

Seven Seconds bears more than passing resemblance to American Crime, an ABC series that also starred King and had a couple of terrific seasons. Seven Seconds has its own voice, however, and perhaps on Netflix it won’t have to look over its shoulder at the ratings quite so often.

While the flashpoint here may last only seven seconds, it sparks enough drama to deliver a solid 10-hour binge.

 
 
 
 
 
Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 
 Name (required)
 
 Email (required) (will not be published)
 
QNVPC
Type in the verification word shown on the image.
 
 
 Page: 1 of 1  | Go to page: 
2 Comments
 
 
Angela
With only one episode left to watch I had to say that for me Seven Seconds definitely fills the bill for a thought provoking, binge worthy, thriller mystery. Two lead actors Clare Hope Ashity and Michael Mosely are great! Big thumbs up.
Feb 27, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Angela
Sounds perfect and just what I need. A drama worthy of binge watching. Last night I tried Frontline's Bitter Rivals and while I'm a big fan I kept getting lost. So again, for tonight this is more my speed. Thanks!
Feb 24, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
 
 Page: 1 of 1  | Go to page: