In the US: Sundays, 8/7c, CBS In the UK: Not yet acquired
Every so often, one of the major US networks decides to do something Important. I don’t know why – the shows always tank in the ratings, no matter how good they are, as has already happened with The Red Line – but they do. Maybe it’s to make a statement about the kind of network they are or want to be. Maybe it’s to suggest to viewers that they don’t need to take out a cable subscription to watch TV that has meaning beyond simple entertainment.
Whatever the reason, they do.
Following on from ABC’s remarkable American Crime, Fox was the last network to try to do something Important, with Shots Fired, in which a black cop shoots an unarmed white guy. Nearly a year later, we now have CBS’s The Red Line, which flips the scenario to something more familiar.
The Red Line
Created by playwright Caitlin Parrish and frequent collaborator Erica Weiss and produced by Wunderkinder Greg Berlanti and Ava DuVernay, The Red Line follows three separate groups of people following a fatal shooting by a white Chicago cop of an unarmed black man (Corey Reynolds).
The first group are Reynolds’ husband, Noah Wyle (ER, The Librarian, Falling Skies), and their adopted daughter Aliyah Royale; the second is the cop who shot Reynolds (Shameless US‘s Noel Fisher) and his co-workers; and the third is Royale’s real mother (Emayatzy Corinealdi) – a rising politician who gave Royale away when she was just a teenager – and her husband (The Musketeers‘ Howard Charles).
Six months after the shooting, Wyle and Royale are still trying to adjust to life without Reynolds and want justice from the system. Fisher, meanwhile, is devastated by the tragedy but thinks he did everything right. Corinedaldi, meanwhile, wants to change the system, particularly the training of police officers, and thinks she’s the person to do it.