|Photo Courtesy/Credit: ABC/Mitch Haaseth|
It brought tears to our eyes, sitting at the table with a mixed generation, watching crossover episodes of two African-American actors guest-starring on each other’s show with veteran actor, Cicely Tyson cast as the maternal-elder, watching her daughter, (played by Viola Davis), defending Glynn Turman’s character with a closing argument, advocating for thousands of men and women who have been falsely incarcerated without due process or resources for bail.
This award-worthy episode on How to Get Away with Murder – “Lahey V. Commonwealth,” personified [real] reality TV, based on innumerable cases of color, and a comparative reality when the chances of seeing blacks on TV was as much an anomaly as seeing a black attorney in real life arguing before the supreme court. Moreover a woman.
Viewing this episode from a historical angle with a conscious reminder of the days when blacks were a rarity on TV, made this a layered reality with a recollection of what the fight for civil rights was all about, reflecting on the accomplishments we have made as a country and the reformations that have yet to be made to provide all citizens equal humanity.
The brilliance of this episode was its scripted argument on the racial injustices that still prevail as it mirrored a dichotomous realization of the achievements we have made in witnessing a powerful cast of black actors and female producer, Shonda Rhimes, who has gained a monopoly on Thursday-night TV with creator, Peter Nowalk, and a diverse team of writers and directors helping to establish a legacy-making moment with this episode, and Season 4’s finale, addressing the outcome of Lahey V. Commonwealth.
This is the level that I feel we should strive for in producing great TV that stimulates dignity and pride through a reflective lens of America’s past, present and future.