Previously on Shots Fired, “Hour Four: Truth”
The Lord Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise
Now that Joey Campbell’s case is officially reopened, Preston and Ashe must deal with the hostilities of the police department. Preston tells Beck about Joey and Jesse having the same weed on them to gauge his response and although he’s surprised, he immediately goes to Officer Vampire Bill because he knows he planted the drugs. Turns out, Beck believes the shooting was justified, but Vampire Bill convinced him that planting the drugs was the way to avoid being blamed. Beck also hints that he’ll tell about other things happening in the department. This is what we mean by the Blue Line. Whatever is truly going on, Beck knows it’s wrong but now that he’s on the hook, he’ll hold the line to cover his ass.
And it’s a good thing Beck is covering his ass because when Preston and Ashe put the pieces together they discover a really messed up puzzle. In the first episode one of the officers referred to a trip to the projects as a tour. Vampire Bill said that the officers referred to their assignments in the projects like tours of duty. Fucked up, but not out of the realm of understanding when you think of relations between law enforcement and Black communities. But as it turns out, they meant literal tours. The police department is running an Auxilliary Deputy program which is basically old white men being deputized and going into the projects like they’re in Westworld and it’s their Wild West playground. And one of those trigger-happy old white guys shot Joey Campbell. This is pulling from an incident almost exactly two years ago, where a wealthy “reserve deputy” in Tulsa shot and killed a Black man while reaching for his taser.
Ashe and Preston are bonding over their shared disgust when Ashe makes a comment about Preston dating Gov. Eamon’s assistant and her being white. After he leaves her alone, she’s pulled over by the police who intimidate, threaten and bribe her. So that’s where Vampire Bill really messed up. He might have gotten away with covering up a murder but not threatening a Black woman.
Mothers of the Movement
Joey and Jesse’s mothers are coming together to seek justice for their sons but they don’t like being used by the various political forces at play. Jesse’s mother is being used by Gov. Eamon’s opponent to gain political points amongst the white, working class voters. Pastor Janae has another moment to shine when she hijack’s the opponent’s rally to deliver a powerful BLM message but she is walking a fine line because everyone knows Gov. Eamons has ties to private prison money and she is attached to the governor. The pastor sees herself as a visionary leader who can’t be bought but, as Gov. Eamons points out, deals are how progress gets made. Now whether or not that’s true remains to be seen but either way, both women are using the grief of these mothers to their own ends so neither is as altruistic as they believe.
Last week, I worried that the show was pulling too many threads and it was threatening to unravel. This week, their thinly-veiled allusions to real life scenarios helped to pull together those loose ends. Adding the element of the auxiliary deputies and the “tours” finally reveals what the police department is hiding and connected to the money men the governor is courting. Another art imitating life moment, Pastor Janae interrupting Candidate Monroe echoed Marissa Jenae’s interruption of Bernie Sanders. Like Marissa, it’s a powerful moment but it’s one that puts a target on Pastor Janae’s back as evidenced by Cox paying her a late night visit. Eventually, she will have to compromise or pick a side. One quibble: there was a great scene between Ashe, Preston, and Sheriff Platt but Preston and the sheriff had their sunglasses on. It diminished the intensity of the scene. Other than that, given that we’ve hit the halfway mark, if the show continues to build on the groundwork it has laid, this could shape up to be some masterful and rich storytelling with a message.
Shots Fired SE5
“Hour Five: Before the Storm”
Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Stephan James, Stephen Moyer, Tristan Mack Wilds, Jill Hennessey, Helen Hunt, Aisha Hinds