American Crime s3e1 – Having watched two seasons of American Crime, I expect John Ridley’s third season to carry on with its sleek cinema verite style that befits contemporary social drama. This third season was conceived and executed before the results of the 2016 elections were in. However, the problems associated with undocumented visitors to the United States have been apparent since the Mayflower landed near Plymouth Rock.
Review and recap American Crime s3e1
American Crime s3e1 images from spoilertv.com
Season Three of American Crime is not only about the vulnerability of the immigrant population in America. It also focuses on the vulnerability of American street kids who fall prey to society’s human vultures.
In the premiere episode of this third season, a horde of undocumented immigrants are led by a coyote to a hole in the border fence along California. Among them is Luis Salazar, who has come across the border for reasons not yet disclosed (hint: it has something to do with his teenage son). When he’s shuffled off with several others to a smuggler-run disembarkation point in the U.S., Luis insists on getting to North Carolina, even though he must pay dearly for that destination.
Many of the other border crossers head for ranches in the southwestern states. Others are willing to take under the table jobs with whomever will hire them.
There are also American street kids like Coy (played by Connor Jessup of Season 2) who are wandering in search of drugs. And teenage prostitutes like Shae Reese, portrayed with abstracted sense of consciousness by Ana Mulvoy Ten. Teen male prostitute Ismael (Marwan Salama in a strong performance) tells a social worker he doesn’t want her help and is doing what he wants to do. “I’m not a victim,” he insists.
On the other end of the social scale is the Hesby family, farmers for generations, now trying to compete in a global market where prices are low. The solution is to hire anyone who can pick tomatoes. The most durable workers in that sphere are resilient Mexican immigrants, not softened by the indulgences of modern society.
Authenticity is added to the mix by the reappearance of Richard Cabral, a mainstay of two seasons of American Crime, and a story by himself. As Isaac, a ‘Captain’ tasked with the job of rounding up daily workers, he makes acquaintance with Coy, rounded up for picking tomatoes at a convenience store.
Convenience stores and min-malls are a good place to find wandering teens, and that’s where Shae tries unsuccessfully to recruit another teen into her line of work. It’s Shae’s pimp who directed it, of course. Shae is resigned to be exploited, mauled, raped, and has no ambition but to survive day to day.
The hope for any kind of redemption lies with Kimara Walters, the social worker who failed to rescue Ismael. Kimara works for Project Open Road, an under funded advocacy group that deals with teen runaways. Kimara is poor, single, wants a baby, and has had no luck at in vitro fertilization. She is portrayed by award-winning Regina King who will without a doubt be busy in future episodes.
The scene has been set, a sweeping cinematic landscape full of human traps. A body lies floating in a drainage canal. Luis Salazar finding his way to a decrepit trailer park in North Carolina where an armed ‘Captain’ named Matias gives instructions with the indifference of a slave master.
Not even the once wealthy Hesby family is immune from destruction. Jeanette Hesby (played by returning star Felicity Huffman) has a drug addicted sister who lives in a poverty shack with two kids. She too is trying for redemption though brother-in-law Carson Hesby reminds everyone how the family got burned the last time they tried to help Raelyn.
Reality is the thing that counts most in American Crime and I’m admittedly a fan of the genre. Ridley’s productions on American Crime have been unremittingly serious. The cinematic style reflects that value. For two seasons, the series has already delivered a reasonable facsimile of reality and I don’t’ see that changing in the third. The show presents rather than sermonizes, another of its strong points.
Other episodes of American Crime reviewed on TV Eskimo:
Characters and cast of American Crime S3E1 include:
Jeanette Hesby – Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives, Transamerica, Sports Night, Phoebe in Wonderland, Cake)
Coy Henson – Connor Jessup (Falling Skies, Blackbird, Closet Monster, What Doesn’t Kill You)
Kimara Walters – Regina King (Ray, Enemy of the State, Jerry Maguire, The Boondocks, The Leftovers, The Big Bang Theory, Southland, Boyz n the Hood, A Cinderella Story)
Isaac Castillo – Richard Cabral (End of Watch, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, The Counselor, Snitch, Southland)
Luis Salazar – Benito Martinez (Million Dollar Baby, The Shield, Saw, How to Get Away with Murder, House of Cards, Sons of Anarchy, Saving Grace)
JD Hesby – Tim DeKay (White Collar, Swordfish, Everwood, Second Chance)
Laurie Ann Hesby – Cherry Jones (Signs, The Village, The Perfect Storm, Mercy Street, Knight of Cups, 24, Awake)
Raelyn – Janel Moloney (The West Wing, Bang Bang You’re Dead, The Leftovers, Alpha House, Brotherhood, Desperate Measures)
Carson Hesby – Dallas Roberts (The Grey, 3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line, Dallas Buyers Club, Rubicon, The Good Wife)
Shae Reese – Ana Mulvoy Ten (The Girl in the Book, Vanity, House of Anubis)
Flemming – Josh Drennen (CSI: Cyber, The Last Ship, NCIS)
Wilkens – Colby French (Game Change, Changeling, American Horror Story, The Fosters, Ray Donovan, Eagle Eye, Gross Pointe Blank)
Abby Tanaka – Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy, Sideways, Tammy, The Night Listener, Hard Candy)
Ryan – Guilford Adams (Parenthood, Glee, Modern Family)
Marks – John M. Adrian (Eastbound & Down, Being Mary Jane, Secret and Lies, Rush Hour)
Marvin – Kirk Bovill (Bosch, 20th Century Women, Contraband, Get On Up, Hawaii Five-O)