When They See Us is about the story of the Central Park Five where 5 boys (4 African-American and one Hispanic) are taken into questioning for the rape of a female jogger. The police don’t hold back and they are beaten and mistreated while in custody. The series follows these boys before their questioning and follows them through the aftermath.
This is a haunting and harrowing series, one that sadly is still relevant and depicts what the U.S. justice system is still like today. I sobbed during every episode. This is definitely one of the most powerful works I’ve seen in both TV and film. And I am glad that this story is being more exposed and that it was done so in a difficultly beautiful way.
I never knew about this case, but I’m sure some know or have heard about it. Director, Ava DuVernay, is a master here. She handles this story with care but does not hold back or gloss over what happened to these boys. The whole series is filled with beautiful performances, cinematography, direction, and writing. This is my favorite work from DuVernay that I have seen so far. And my kudos goes to the actors who played these men: Kevin Richardson (Asante Blackk, Justin Cunningham), Antron McCray (Caleel Harris, Jovan Adepo), Yusef Salaam (Ethan Herisse, Chris Chalk), Raymond Santana (Marquis Rodriguez, Freddy Miyares), and Korey Wise (Jharrel Jerome).
As said before, this series is a hard watch. But I implore you to watch it anyways. You may figure out what happens and dread it or already know about it, but stick through it so you can fully immerse yourself in this story.
I give When They See Us an A+