The death of a 15-year-old African American boy in Jersey City, New Jersey, sets off a police cover-up and a search for the truth: this is the official premise of “Seven Seconds,” Netflix’s new 10-part miniseries from Indian American writer/producer Veena Sud.
Starring Clare-Hope Ashitey, Regina King, and Beau Knapp, the crime drama series tackles the issue of race in America.
Sud is collaborating with Netflix once again after the streaming site picked up her drama, “The Killing,” after AMC axed it (see earlier India-West story here: http://bit.ly/2sZ022R).
“Look, at the end of the day, creators make artistic choices. That’s what we do. What I learned, though, (is that) when you’re a woman creator and you make a choice that may not be popular, the endless demand for public apology is something that male creators don’t go through,” Sud told The Hollywood Reporter when asked to reflect, six and a half years later, on the show’s divisive season one finale.
“Netflix is the first and really the only place I wanted to go with the story, because I knew they’d do it right,” Sud added. “(It) allows you not to have to repeat or dumb anything down … (with) the act break, or the ‘tune in to the next week’ thing. We can just watch a show in the same way you read a novel, with that level of intelligence and commitment and depth.”
For “Seven Seconds,” Sud, according to The Hollywood Reporter, was inspired by real-life stories of police brutality against black men and boys, including Freddie Gray and Tamir Rice.
“I feel like I’ve seen so many beautiful, interesting anti-heroes personified by white guys, whether it’s Paul Newman in ‘The Verdict,’ or Walter White in ‘Breaking Bad,’” said Sud, who was born to an Indian father and a Filipino mother. “(There is) this hunger for women, and women of color in particular, to be those flawed heroes. ‘Flawed’ is a key word, and ‘hero’ is a key word. We get to be human. Everyone I know, every woman I know, all my friends, my family, we have those qualities of the hero and the f*** up. So to be able to see that [in K.J., played by Ashitey) felt very revolutionary.”
Sud is an alumnus of New York University’s graduate film and television program. She was previously a writer and executive producer on the police procedural, “Cold Case.” She worked as a print and broadcast journalist in New York City, before moving into television writing.
All 10 episodes of “Seven Seconds” premiered Feb. 23.