“Seven Seconds” is Netflix’s new original crime drama created by Veena Sud, the same writer-producer who adapted the Danish-inspired “The Killing.”
Instead of using a traditional crime story arc, where the audience must sit through the entirety of the season to figure out who is the murderer, Sud tells us from the get-go: a young black teenager has been murdered by a white cop. The cop’s partners help him cover up the crime and it is now up to the prosecutor to seek justice for the victim.
Performances by Regina King as the victim’s mother Latrice Butler, Clare-Hope Ashitey as prosecutor KJ Harper and Michael Mosley as detective Joe “Fish” Rinaldi really drive the story along. The audience dives into the investigation along with them but is left wondering how much longer it will take for them to figure everything out.
The show tackles the issue of racial injustice with appropriate delicacy, and depictions of this injustice resonate with events that have occurred over the last few years. However, it seems like Sud tries to enhance the series by including every crime show stereotype under the sun: rogue cops, alcoholism and drug abuse, soldiers returning from the war, self-deprecation and political influences- among many more. Instead of honing in one theme and seeing it through, multiple arcs are left open-ended, leaving many holes in the story.
Most importantly, the show takes way too long to answer basic questions, and some are frustratingly never answered at all. The first four episodes could easily have been condensed into one introductory chapter and time could have been better spent engaging in issues head-on instead of skirting around them.
I was invested enough to follow along, but very disappointed with the pace. The show didn’t become interesting until after episode five, and by then its storytelling flaws were abundantly clear. There are too many repetitive build-ups that always come crashing down, so if you’re looking for a clear-cut, feel-good, justice-is-served kind of story, this one is not for you.