Early Review Calls ‘Shots Fired’ an “Excellent New Series”

Filmed in Gastonia, North Carolina and the Charlotte region, the new Fox drama Shots Fired, just had its world premiere screening of the first six episodes at the ongoing Sundance Film Festival, and an early review calls the series, featuring a fictional North Carolina town in turmoil after a racially-charged shooting, “worthy and excellent”.

Variety writes that show is “a worthy and excellent new series that works as both a television drama and an interlocking array of engagements with some of the most thorny issues of our time. Shots Fired resists easy villains and simple answers, even as it knits its many pointed questions into an accessible narrative that is laudably brisk and generally efficient”.

The article also reveals that viewers will not see the actual crime as it happened, but rather will be left free to decide which version of the truth presented through various characters is what really happened. 

Variety explains, “In many notable incidents of police brutality in recent years, there has been footage of the encounter between the cop and the civilian. But “Shots Fired” doesn’t depict that moment: As it follows several characters affected by and understandably agitated by the incident, we hear versions of what happened, but viewers don’t get to see it unfold.”

Other highlights from the review: “The Department of Justice lawyer assigned to the North Carolina case, Preston Terry (Stephan James), is a contained, by-the-book rule-follower with his eyes on future career prizes, while ex-cop-turned-investigator Ashe Akino (Sanaa Lathan) is very good at her job, but she’s also a wild card with anger issues and is prone to acting out.

“That said, both Terry and Akino are African-American, as is the accused cop in the case. The victim who dies in the opening seconds of the series is white.

“That may not be the expected premise, given the number of high-profile deaths of black men and women in police custody in recent years. But race is far from ignored in “Shots Fired.” If anything, the novel starting point allows the drama to wring a number of intriguing and fruitful possibilities from its examinations of opportunity, influence and corruption up and down the socio-economic ladder in the town and in the state.

“Soon the investigators are drawn into the murky circumstances surrounding another suspicious death in the town, and the scope of the drama continues to widen. In fraternity houses, police stations, run-down apartment complexes and well-heeled subdivisions, they grapple with a variety of secrets and uncomfortable truths about the workings of power, and dig into relationships and practices that many members of the community would prefer to sweep under the rug.

“Co-creator Gina Prince-Bythewood, who directed the first and eighth episodes, and her fellow directors also examine, with immediacy and a great deal of visceral force, what it’s like to be pulled over by the cops — and what that experience is like for the cops who face that potential danger every single day. “Shots Fired” doesn’t vilify cops, nor does it minimize the profound effect they can have on the lives of those they have sworn to serve and protect.”

You can read the full review here.

The ensemble cast includes Sanaa Lathan as Ashe Akino, Stephan James as Preston Terry, Helen Hunt as Governor Patricia Eamons, Richard Dreyfuss as Arlen Cox, Stephen Moyer as Lt. Eric Breeland, Tristan Wilds as Dep. Joshua Belk, Aisha Hinds as Pastor Janae James, Will Patton as Sheriff Daniel Platt, Conor Leslie as Sarah Ellis, Clare-Hope Ashitey as Kerry Belk, DeWanda Wise as Shameeka Campbell.

Shots Fired will premiere on Fox on Wednesday, March 22 at 8pm.

You can watch the latest TV spot and the new trailer below!


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