Nobody’s hands are clean.

American Crime is continuing our journey to the climax of this season and every step of the way I am dazzled by the creative risks this team makes in every episode.  This week includes testimonials from Americans who have lived through and survived the trauma of school shootings, bullying, and homophobia.  The true story interviews are woven into the fictional narrative seamlessly. They are… heartbreaking.  This episode challenges the viewer to deal with the complexity of these issues instead of offering some “after school special” way of opening the viewer’s mind to see the “why” instead of focusing on the “end result.”

So often when tragedy happens particularly school shootings the general public is quick to judge and label the situation into quick talking points that hit obvious emotional fear based triggers. As we have been on this journey with these characters, we are able to see the why and that, my friends, is groundbreaking. The why of a crime is a fascinating space to inhabit.  My meditation teacher has often said that watching some TV shows are perfect places to practice empathy and compassion. We live in such a segregated country where many people of different races, classes and sexual orientations do not mix. That separation is dehumanizing.  The strength of American Crime is that we are able to see the human beings beyond the labels and relate and debate their choices and the effect of their actions.

Episode 8 is all about the fallout from the school shooting. “If you’re going to stand up for what’s right, sometimes you’re gonna stand apart.” Sebastian De La Torre’s (Richard Cabral) line toTaylor’s mom, Anne Blane (Lilly Taylor) is a turning point in the episode and in the season.  So far, we have seen a whole lot of coverup and no standing up for what’s right in order to save face.

Coach Dan Sullivan’s (Timothy Hutton) character has evolved into this sanctimonious hypocrite blind to the dysfunction he has created in his award-winning basketball team. Coach Sullivan thinks he is providing a healthy sense of morality to his team yet at the end of the day he will do whatever it takes to cover up and protect his family. Is this an honorable trait? Yes… and no.

Headmaster Leslie Graham (Felicity Huffman) is fascinating.  This is the first time she refers to herself as a “politician” and this is the perfect way to describe her role handling the children of the wealthy at this elite private school.  She speaks out of both sides of her mouth so much it almost got her killed.  In last week’s episode, we saw Taylor waiting for over an hour with a loaded gun for Leslie and this week we see the impact of her realizing what her actions could have cost her.

You know when you see a swan floating on a pond it looks effortless, yet under the surface that swans legs are going crazy just to keep it afloat.  This week we see how hard it is to deal with the consequences of a cover-up, and the price is unthinkable.

11049613_10206537176921402_2619367755764345357_nJeanine T. Abraham is a professional actor, blogger, new playwright, and GirlTrek organizer living and working in Brooklyn, NYC