'The Red Line' explores racism in America and acts as a mirror to the country's most pressing issues
'The Red Line', an upcoming drama series by CBS, is a touching, emotional story of three Chicago families connected through a tragic police killing. The show begins with the shooting of an African American doctor by a Caucasian Chicago police officer after a convenience store robbery goes awry. Following this, the series follows the lives of three different Chicago families — all connected by this tragedy, hoping against hope, healing, and forgiveness. The story is told through different perspectives.
Tia Young, played by actress Emayatzy Corinealdi, is running for a political office and the shooting of an African American doctor by a Caucasian police officer affects not only her campaign but also her personally — Young is the mother to the adopted daughter of the couple directly affected by the tragedy. There is also a struggle between the families of officer Paul Evans (played by Noel Fisher) and the Calder-Brennan family (Noah Wyle and Aliyah Royale), whose lives Evans ruined.
'The Red Line' comes at just the right time as it mirrors reality in an effort to bring to fore the issues grappling America — from racism to politically motivated attacks and how big a role media plays in swaying public opinion in cases like these.
One particular case where the issues highlighted in the drama series rings true is the recent Jussie Smollett case, which in itself is a case that highlights the major issues faced by America today. On February 20, 2019, Smollett was indicted for disorderly conducted consisting of allegedly paying two Nigerian-American brothers to stage a fake hate crime assault in him. Following this "attack", Smollett filed a false police report saying that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. Despite the several twists and turns in the story, Smollett maintained throughout that the assailants supported Trump. In his statement to the police, the actor had said that his masked attacked told him, "This is a MAGA country," along with racist and homophobic slurs. "They called me a f****t, they called me a n****r. There’s no which way you cut it. I don’t need some MAGA hat as the cherry on some racist sundae," he had said.
Another point where 'The Red Line' and the Smollett case intersect is that both are based out of Chicago.
While charges against Smollett are now dropped (which was also a huge controversy in itself), he tried taking undue advantage of major issues on racism and homophobia because he wasn't quite happy with his salary on the show 'Empire'. His plan to milk the race territory may have turned against him and had him falling on his face. And while he may have had success in the court of law, in the court of public opinion, he has pretty much failed.
In case it’s not obvious, Trump really likes the Jussie Smollett case because for him and his base it fits into the Trumpian/Fox News narrative that racism against minorities is fake but racism against white people is real.— Adam Serwer🍝 (@AdamSerwer) March 28, 2019
This is brought to light in 'The Red Line'. "There are two Americas living side by side and many different privileges and justices exist depending on the side," co-creator Caitlin Parrish told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour in January. 'The Red Line' aims to bring to fore a "cultural conversation through the lens of an emotional family drama."
The series is named 'The Red Line' after the train line that runs through the length of Chicago, a public transit that traverses through every neighborhood and demographic. "As segregated as the city is, there is one line that touches every kind of person," Parrish had said. Racism under Trump's presidency has seen an escalation that is unmatched. With the number of reported hate crimes and race cases on the rise, it will be interesting to see how 'The Red Line' encapsulates this in the series.
'The Red Line' debuts on April 28 at 8 pm ET/PT on CBS.