7 seconds by Veena Sud does a phenomenal job depicting the racial tensions in America and within the justice system. The story line causes the viewer to feel a range of emotions from anger, to empathy because of the racial biases and power dynamics. From the start the writer establishes two parallel story lines, first, we see antagonistic behavior of four officers introduced to the series. Then we see the complete opposite when the series introduces the protagonist story line. The story begins with one of many climatic moments, Officer Peter Jablonski played by Beau Knapp, struck Brenton Butler one snowy morning, while driving to see the birth of his child. Officer Jablonski wants to do right by Brenton but is submissive to his superior Officer Mike Diangelo played by David Lyons. The series then introduces KJ Harper played by Clare-Hope Ashitey, she is a prosecutor with a dark past that emotionally ties her to the work she does. Harpers partner, detective Fish played by Joe Rinadi brings a comedic relief to the plot. Harper and Fish are an imperfect team, they both go to extreme lengths to get justice while dealing with their own demons along the way.
Once the trial begins so does an emotional roller coaster. The trial transpired from a criminal investigation to a manipulating conversation. As in so many cases in America, people tend to rush to judgement on aspects of the police vs public’s relationship. In so many cases when an African American is portrayed in the media and society, it is accompanied with negative connotations. For example, Attorney Lisa Hennessey played by Gretchen Mol tries to brand the victim to his surroundings and indirectly uses the suspicion of gang affiliation to validate Butler’s death. Regina King and Russell Hornsby play Brenton Butlers distraught parents, whose relationship disintegrates with the death of their son. 7 Seconds is painfully honest as it acts as a mirror reflecting racism, power and injustice in America today. It also highlights that the justice system, is not necessarily just. Rather, it is very much influenced by individuals who have status, power and the ability to exercise that power.