Review: An often brilliant ‘American Crime’ season comes to a busy end

Senior Television Writer
03.09.16 13 Comments

ABC

A few thoughts on the American Crime season finale coming up just as soon as I hack your webcam…

Right before the airing of the episode where Taylor killed Wes, I admitted that I had fallen for this season of American Crime much harder than I'd ever expected to. Since then, the show has remained incredibly compelling, while at the same time feeling like John Ridley and company maybe bit off more than they could chew in 10 hours.

The rape story – and note that, even at the end, Eric is still convinced he did nothing of the kind, while Taylor believes the exact opposite – was a smaller idea than a school shooting, and while the one led to the other, the show was able to deal with the rape allegations with a lot more nuance than could be brought to the more charged murder topic, especially coming as late in the season as it did. And while some of the other story elements – Sebastian as vigilante hacker, the problems at the public school, even the matter of Terri LaCroix's white employers not appreciating the code-switching language in her hacked emails – tied into the season's larger themes, they weren't always as well-developed as the core problems at Leyland. Ridley had a lot of things he wanted to say with this season, as he did with the first, and perhaps aware of the low ratings and the tenuous possibility of renewal, he at times tried to say too much at once.

And yet… those performances remained spectacular throughout, and the show found a way to provide comeuppance to most of the story's wrongdoers in a way that still left the whole thing feeling like a regrettable mess. And that final sequence, with both Taylor and Eric being given one last chance to take back a decision – Taylor with the plea deal, Eric once again endangering himself in search of anonymous sex – seemed the perfect ambiguous, uncomfortable note to end it all on.

American Crime aimed big. Didn't always hit, but its execution matched its ambition far more than I ever expected it to. And the anthology miniseries design of it means that even if, as I assume, the new ABC administration declines to order more, viewers got two complete story experiences.

What did everybody else think?

Around The Web