Pilot Reviews Seven Seconds

Seven Seconds 1×01 – Pilot

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I’d watch Regina King in anything. The actress was spectacular in American Crime, and she’s just as brilliant here.

Seven Seconds, Netflix’s newest crime thriller, is the story of a white policeman’s hit & run of a black teenager, and the ensuing cover-up. The story takes its time, but it’s captivating in both tone and nuance. The racial element is one that drives the narrative – every scene and every exchange is packed with what isn’t said, and that transforms the show into a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode. Much like I was in The Night Of (a truly anxiety-inducing masterpiece), I was on the edge of my seat throughout.

As I mentioned above, Regina King is mindblowing here as the mother of the victim. Her big “scene” when she walks into her son’s hospital room is unforgettably haunting (it reminded me of a similar scene in This Is Us not long ago), and it should singlehandedly land her an Emmy nomination this summer. But also mightily impressive is Clare-Hope Ashitey as Assistant Prosecutor K.J. Harper. I’ve never seen the actress before, but she makes an immediate impression as an alcoholic and utterly miserable lawyer tasked with bringing justice to the case. There’s something strangely magnetic about Harper’s performance, and I can’t wait to see her butt heads with King going forward.

One familiar face who makes an appearance is David Lyons. I was a big fan of the actor on two short-lived shows (Revolution and Game of Silence), so it’s refreshing to see him on a series that looks like it actually works. His turn might seem like a typically antagonistic one, but I have a feeling the writers are going to be injecting a whole lot of dimension here. Fingers crossed.

Conclusion
An engrossing pilot packed with masterful performances. I’m curious to see how the show carries forward.

Nad Rating
A-

2 comments

  1. Enjoyed reading your thoughts on this. The second episode is probably my favorite one of the entire season (don’t know if you’ve seen it yet). KJ really is fantastic, but Michael Mosley as her “sidekick” Fish ends up being my favorite new actor of the year. Trust me, you’ll love him by the end of the season too!

    Sadly, I thought the writing stumbles A LOT after episode 4 or 5 and becomes an ENTIRELY different show, but will leave that up to you to decide!

  2. This is a review of the entire series, so there are spoilers.

    I have to concur with both you guys. The cast sparkles and the direction is spot on. The dynamic between KJ and Fish is both complex and compelling. Clare-Hope Ashitey’s KJ is especially credible. Unlike Jessica Jones, which in my view almost glamorizes alcoholism, we see here its devastating effects. The combination of denial and apathy is perfectly balanced and portrayed. Michael Mosley’s Fish is forever pushing chewing gum or mints on her as a subtle display of his concern for her. Regina King is a miracle to behold. Her struggles with her husband and, therefore, her faith are crushingly moving.

    My only negative criticism centers on the “bad cops”. While Beau Knapp’s Peter Jablonski evokes some sympathy, the others are your typical crooked cops, right out of Central Casting. Even when they murder a teenage girl, they generated no outrage in me because I saw it coming a mile away. The only things missing were handlebar mustaches that they could curl and twist as they discussed their evil schemes (“nyah-ah-ah!”). Now, I get it, the cops have to be evil or their would be no plot. But did they have to be so predictable and two-dimensional?

    My grade: A-

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