Fox’s “Shots Fired” dives into the explosive subject of race-related police shootings by throwing everything you know about recent real-life incidents up in the air.
The new 10-part series kicks off with a police shooting — but in this case it’s an African-American cop who shoots a young white man. Department of Justice investigators are brought in, and they encounter resistance from everyone, including cops and witnesses.
What really happened? We’ll find out by the end of the series, promise creators and executive producers Gina Prince-Bythewood and Reggie Rock Bythewood.
Sanaa Lathan, Stephan James, Stephen Moyer, Mack Wilds, Aisha Hinds, Richard Dreyfuss, Helen Hunt, Jill Hennessy, and Dennis Haysbert are among the stars.
The show originated from something that happened within the Bythewood family, after George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin. Their son couldn’t grasp how justice could be denied — and from there, the journey led them to “Shots Fired,” as they explain.
The Bythewoods talked to countless experts to research “Shots Fired” – including law enforcement veterans, and family members who lost someone to a police shooting. That included the mother of Oscar Grant, the Bay Area teen whose story was adapted into the film “Fruitvale Station.”
“That ripped us emotionally, her telling us her story of what happened to her son and the whole process of seeking justice,” Gina Prince-Bythewood said. “She had a perspective on how you turn pain into power. We learned so much.”
Real life also threatened to invade the set of “Shots Fired” as headlines like the killing of Philando Castillo took place during filming. “At night watching this horrifying footage and realizing this happened again and literally going to work the next day and shooting something similar,” Prince-Bythewood recalled, “it was tough for us and tough for the case. What it did for us, was remind us how important it was for us to get it right.”
Also in this episode: IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers, back from SXSW in Austin, shares how the annual event has become even more TV-centric.
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