We don’t really know how many deaths are being annually caused by cars that hit people on the roads. And how many of those accidents end up in breaking news? When it does, whose side do we pick? A human life is not a game to gamble on. When a life is lost, there is no turning back, and nothing can compensate that loss. The new series on Netflix called “Seven Seconds” are based on the Russian movie “The Major” (2013). This TV show is quite important as it explores such themes as police corruption, as well as tells about the human lives that are behind the headlines. And many stories turn out to be much more complicated than the quick conclusions we can jump to without fully understanding the background of the events. Sadly, as spectators, we often do so.
Set in New Jersey, we are told about a tragic accident where a fifteen-year-old boy Brenton Butler is hit by a police officer. The boy is of African-American origin. Officer Peter Jablonski (Beau Knapp) calls his direct supervisor – Mike Diangelo (David Lyons). The latter, after a quick assessment of the situation, makes a decision that is life-changing for everyone involved in this accident. Families on both sides are going to be affected.
It is a snowy day. The officer is talking on the phone with his cousin while driving. As he learns that his pregnant wife is being rushed to the hospital, he loses concentration for a split second. That when he realizes he has hit something. Jablonski quickly comes out of the car and looked around. He is in the middle of an empty park and seems like there is nothing around. Until he looks under his car. As soon as he realizes that the worst has happened, he calls his boss – Diangelo, who orders Jablonski to leave the scene as if nothing has happened. The whole problem is that Mike assumes the young man is already dead. In fact, the boy is badly injured and left lying in the snow for hours until he is found by a dog.
From that moment on, a nightmare is unleashed. The victim’s parents – Isaiah (Russell Hornsby) and Latrice Butler (Regina King) try to understand why their son was in the park in the first place. They also want to find out the name of the person who has been behind the wheel that has torn their family apart forever. Things get worse, when the fearless prosecutor K.J. Harper (Clare-Hope Ashitey) and her loyal colleague Joe ‘Fish’ Rinaldi (Michael Mosley) determine that the man they are looking for is a cop from their district. The web of corruption and the massive police cover-up turn this incident into national headlines. The same reasons make it difficult to catch the guilty party.
“Seven Seconds” is an anthological crime drama from Netflix that must be seen by everyone who likes to ask questions. Even though l have watched the original film, l must admit, there are always more questions than answers. The series manages to bring that sense of logical conclusion, that will satisfy any viewer. The strong performance delivered by the stellar cast transports the viewer into this painful journey, where we have to witness the unpleasant reality, the injustice, corruption, lies and cover-ups that are part of the criminal Justice of our times.
In conclusion, the series never tries to justify the real cause of the accident or show why Jablonski is a victim as well. The creators, however, find the right moments to exploit all the sides of the coin in a profound way. The story touches upon a human life, the aftermath of an accident, and series of events that occur only due to that horrific day that could have been avoided. It also provides an in-depth look into the criminal Justice system, that cares about public opinion more than facts and will send anyone to prison to please the demand of the society. That is not the case of “Seven Seconds”. Still, long after the screen fades into black, you’ll find yourself thinking and analyzing what you have watched.