S1E1 & S1E2: Pilot & Brenton’s Breath | All episodes now streaming on Netflix.
For some self-sadistic reason, I keep volunteering to cover shows about corrupt cops killing Black teens (check out my reviews of Shots Fired) and at least two of the actors on Seven Seconds can say the same because they both were in Shots Fired and show up here in lead roles. The first is Beau Knapp, who plays Officer Peter Jablonski, a new member of the narcotics division of the New Jersey Police Department. Jablonski finds himself in hot water after he hits a teenager on his bike while trying to get to his pregnant wife in the hospital. The situation is made worse when his superior officer, DiAngelo (David Lyons, Revolution) helps him cover up the hit-and-run rather than reporting it. Enter KJ Harper, played by Clare-Hope Ashitey our other Shots Fired alum. Harper is a burnt out district attorney who would much rather be singing karaoke than doing her job (which she initially seems incompetent at anyway).
The teenager Jablonski hit survived the crash but since he left the scene, Brenton is practically a vegetable by the time he’s found. Brenton is a “good” kid from a middle-class family. His mother, Latrice, played by Regina King, is an educator and his father, Isiah (Russell Hornsby) is involved in the church. His uncle, Seth (Zachary Momoh) is in the Army. Despite Jablonski and his partners wanting this to end quickly, Brenton has a whole community in his corner and they are determined to find the truth. By the end of the first two episodes, Harper has found renewed interest in her job because of this case and Jablonski is already starting to wear down under the guilt of what he’s done. And as Brenton loses his fight to hold on to life, it’s clear that his family is not going to rest until they know the whole story.
The acting. Clare-Hope Ashitey and Beau Knapp are amazing at their roles mostly because I truly believe Harper is incompetent and that Jablonski is one beer away from confessing. Also Regina King is in this so
Might as well ship Regina her Emmy.
While the story is trying to set up some interesting questions about what Brenton was doing in the park in the first place, at the end of the day none of it matters. Jablonski hit that child and his partners helped him cover it up. Brenton could have been in the park selling 5 tons of black tar heroin, Jablonski didn’t know that when he hit him.
Questions That Need Answers
- Why is Isiah so eager to believe the worst in his son? He seems to be almost hoping that Brenton was doing something horrible in that park.
- There were some sparks between Regina and Uncle Seth. I don’t have questions, but I need answers.
Seven Seconds S1E1/S1E2 Review Score
"Pilot" / "Brendon's Breath"
Starring: Clare-Hope Ashitey, Beau Knapp, David Lyons, Regina King, Russell Hornsby, Zackary Momoh