Wednesday night marks the airing of the final Hour 10 of the Shots Fired series. The episode is titled, “Last Dance.”
Unfortunately for Stephen Moyer fans, last week we witnessed his character, Officer Breeland’s death at the end of the episode. That might have been the climax of the series, but we know that there is more justice to come in the final episode.
Be assured that the Shots Fired story will reach a conclusion in this week’s last episode since it was originally written as a 10 episode event. Yes, there was talk that it might continue, but I doubt that even if Officer Breeland had survived he would have been seen in a second season. Shots Fired was written to be more like shows such as ABC’s American Crime (which has also been cancelled) with each season being a new story showing similar injustices. So, at least we don’t have to watch the story abruptly end like has happened in some recently cancelled shows and we have the solace of knowing Breeland was more a victim than a bad guy.
In the penultimate episode (last week’s Hour 9) of Shots Fired, a grieving town was finally given a chance to express their pain and fury in a way we don’t often see in the real world. Unfortunately for Stephen Moyer fans it was Lt. Breeland who took the fall for the corruption within the Sheriff’s office. His fans felt that Breeland’s sorrow and death was beautifully portrayed by Stephen in his final performance in the program. Congratulations Steve, on a job well done!
We applaud the series for it’s courage in offering an unflinching examination of our criminal justice system through the lens of a small Southern town struggling with the aftermath of two racially-tinged shootings.
The two cases have seemed inexorably linked from the beginning — from the unimaginable grief of the boys’ two grieving mothers down to the symmetry in their initials — and in episode, “Come to Jesus,” we discovered the extent of the corruption in the Gate County Sheriff’s Department, which undoubtedly contributed to both their deaths.
We found out in Hour 9 last week that is was Arlen Cox who pulled the trigger on Joey. Cox is a wealthy white real-estate mogul who was serving as an untrained auxiliary deputy on patrol with the sheriff’s department when he allegedly reached for his taser and “accidentally” drew his weapon on the unarmed teen.
But Joey’s shooting was also covered up by Sheriff Platt and Lt. Breeland to save their own careers. The latter even falsified police reports to protect Cox, and also planted weed in Jesse’s car after he was shot, in order to retroactively try and justify the stop and search of his vehicle.
At the end of episode 9, after Cox confessed to his part in Joey’s murder and implicated Breeland in the cover-up, the disgraced lieutenant finally came to apologize to Joey’s mother and brother — but it was too little, too late.
Breeland’s apology gave Joey’s younger brother, Shawn, a chance to smack the crooked cop in the jaw, which was a satisfyingly liberating moment, but the tears really started flowing when the Campbells’ neighbors emerged from their houses to shame Breeland and chase him away, so that Joey’s mom didn’t have to say a word.
In reality, we rarely have the opportunity to face the people who have wronged us and tell them exactly what we think of them, and while jeering Breeland won’t bring Joey back, that’s probably not what’s at the heart of the community’s reaction to Breeland. He’s a symbol of a larger problem — a system of oppression that they feel has targeted them for centuries.
Protesting one man may not solve the problems of the whole apparatus, but it’s undeniably cathartic, especially for folks who, just a few episodes ago, were met with tear gas and water cannons when they tried to express themselves. Violence is never the answer, but a little righteous anger can go a long way — and it makes for powerful TV.
Don’t forget to watch Shots Fired Wednesday night May 22 at 8 p.m. on Fox.