Deadly Police Violence and Unsolved Murder Ignite Racial Turmoil in ‘Shots Fired’

By Sameer Rao Mar 22, 2017

A Justice Department investigator exposes a small North Carolina town’s racist underside while investigating a police killing and related unsolved murder in "Shots Fired," a 10-part limited series which premieres on Fox tonight (March 22) at 8 p.m. EDT.

As described in the series summary, the show stars Sanaa Lathan ("The Perfect Guy") as Ashe Akino, the investigator who partners with special prosecutor Preston Terry (Stephan James, "Selma") to uncover the truth about a Black deputy’s killing of a White college student—and the neglected murder of a Black teen that is brought to light in the aftermath of the police shooting. Akino and Terry’s investigation proceeds against the backdrop of a town polarized by these two incidents, and the trailer above depicts scenes of police repressing Black protesters and a White officer trying to intimidate Akino during a nighttime traffic stop.

Created by wife-and-husband team Gina Prince-Blythewood ("Beyond the Lights") and Reggie Rock Blythewood ("Biker Boyz"), "Shots Fired" also stars Tristan Wilds ("The Breaks") as Joshua Beck, the officer under investigation; Aisha Hinds ("Underground") as local pastor Janae James; Helen Hunt ("The Sessions") as Governor Patricia Eamons; and Richard Dreyfuss ("Madoff") as Arlen Cox, an influential real estate developer and owner of a private prison.

Shadow and Act published a Q&A with Wilds yesterday (March 21), in which he recalls filming the shooting scene on the same day that St. Anthony, Minnesota, police officer Jeronimo Yanez killed Philando Castile

I remember I couldn’t even do it that day. I was online, looking at Facebook Live and watching his fiancée [Diamond Reynolds post] the whole situation, with his daughter in the back seat. I walked into my trailer, not remembering what we were shooting that day, and seeing my police uniform. And it just broke me down. Gina and Reggie came to talk to me, and it took all that for me to remember why we were doing this.

Watch the "Shots Fired" trailer, and let us know what you think in the comments.