N.O.T.: American Crime: S3 E1, review

ABC’s critically-acclaimed anthology series returns with a brutally honest portrayal of another cruel kept secret in our country. In its third season, American Crime has garnered a following, but not enough to be a ratings darling. However viewers return for the quality of the narrative and the performances. With a cast boasting the likes of Felicity Huffman, Regina King, Timothy Hutton, and season newbie Sandra Oh, it’s sure to be must-see TV on Sunday evenings.

Like the two seasons before it, Crime elects a new stain of American life as its focus. This season can be categorized under two main themes: human trafficking and illegal immigration.

The scenes are painstakingly taut, from camera angles to the purposely short dialogue. Nothing is romanticized. You forget you’re watching a show as it feels more like being a fly on the wall somewhere in Not-That-Far, USA. The opening scene of Mexican immigrants crossing the border immediately evokes sentiments for our country’s current position on border control. A worker on his way to new living quarters, shortly after accepting a job, sees the corpse of a man who’s trek for a better life failed. A young girl getting her makeup done at a department store counter, lying about the identity of her time-conscious male companion. She’ll later wipe the makeup off upon request from a paying customer in a desolate hotel room.

This season intends on analyzing every angle of these monstrosities: from the rich farmers who hire illegal immigrants to compete with larger business; to the childless social worker who fights for victims of the sex slave trade. It’s uncomfortable and ugly. Grossly un-American, and yet painfully ours as much as apple pie. It’s what great art is supposed to do.

 

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