When They See Us is a 4-episode miniseries created, co-written, and directed by Ava DuVernay who does an excellent job in showcasing the story of the Central Park Five revolving around five young boys.
The central park five depicted in this amazing drama series were Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Anton McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise. All boys at the time were aged 14, 14, 15, 15 and 16 respectively. They happened to be part of the 30 teenagers who were hanging in Central Park, New York one evening in 1989 where a rape incident occurred.
As the boys strolled around the park, others were up to no good causing havoc with some tagging along to have fun. Meanwhile, 28-year-old Trisha Meili who had headed out for a jog that night ended up being raped, beaten and spent 12 days in a hospitalized coma.
The Police realize what has happened and go out on a man hunt for the suspects. Coincidentally, because of their presence at Central Park during the time of the crime, the Five become suspects.
Korey Wise accompanied Yusef Salaam to the police station however he was also interrogated on the assault of Trisha Meili. It is hard for police brutality to go unnoticed in the series.
The boys who were all minors at the time except for Korey Wise are interrogated for 7 hours without their parents and coerced into admitting to the crime. Despite their DNA tests not matching that at the crime scene, their confession recordings are what lead to their imprisonment.
The verdict scene is the most emotional scene of the series
The verdict scene is the most emotional scene of the series. As the judge reads out the names of the boys and each of their verdict, the court room evoke is filled with emotions of pain and anger. I cried while watching that scene.
Jharrel Jerome, Asante Blackk, Marquis Rodrigues, Caleel Harris and Ethan Herisse who act as the Five exhibited a formidable performance in that scene.
The four boys except Korey Wise are given a 5-10-year sentence because they were minors and are convicted in juvenile. McCray spent six years in prison, Richardson five years and six months, Salaam 6years and 8 months and Santana spent 5 years.
Wise who was 16 at the time is convicted as an adult and gets to spend 12 years in prison. His experience in prison is traumatizing due to the violence and abuse that he faced. Jharrel Jerome who plays Wise in the series was explicit in the role no wonder he scooped an Emmy as the Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie at 2019 Emmy Awards.
During his time in prison, Korey comes into contact with the real perpetuator Matias Reyes. Reyes had been convicted for several rape cases and murder and was serving his time. He later confesses to the police about being the rapist and his DNA results match those found at the scene in 1989. His confession is the justice that the Five had been looking for.
What makes When They See Us a must watch?
I do not think some individuals were knowledgeable about the story of the Central Park Five till Duvernay’s When They See Us. I am part of that group and grateful to have come across it.
The series has the power to impact knowledge and make people intolerant to police violence and faulty judicial systems. Watching When They See Us will create an emotional rollercoaster in you that no other series can.
Director: Ava DuVernay
Cast: Asante Blackk, Caleel Harris, Ethan Herisse, Jharrel Jerome, Marquis Rodriguez, Jovan Adepo, Chris Chalk, Justin Cunningham, Freddy Miyares, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Kylie Bunbury, Aunjanue Ellis, Vera Farmiga, Felicity Huffman, John Leguizamo, Niecy Nash, Michael K. Williams
Producers: Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, ane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro, Berry Welsh, Oprah Winfrey
Companies: Harpo Films, Tribeca Productions, ARRAY, Participant Media, Netflix
Release Dates: May 31, 2019
Newslibre Rating: 8/10
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Author: Joy Aliba
Joy Aliba is a freelance writer for Newslibre. She majorly writes about the latest political issues in East Africa and coolest entertainment news across the world.