'American Crime' review: John Ridley's ambitious drama is the anti-procedural

March 5, 2015 10:18 PM

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In "American Crime," ABC's new attempt at a cable-style prestige drama, the signature visual flourish is an uncomfortably long, unblinking take on one its characters, be it in a moment of silent desperation or in the heat of devastating argument. The camera does not let go, and it's a metaphor for the show's ambitions -- a penetrating, demanding examination of race, faith, the pitfalls of self-righteousness and limits of parental love.

The 11-episode series, which comes from "12 Years a Slave" screenwriter John Ridley and premieres tonight at 10 p.m., opens with a 911 call in Modesto, Calif. A war veteran named Matt Skokie has been killed in a home invasion, and his wife Gwen assaulted and left unconscious.

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