Network TV shows including This Is Us, Law & Order: SVU, and Chicago PD have kicked off their new seasons with social justice-themed storylines that tout systemic racism and portray law enforcement in a negative light. Writers rooms around Hollywood are working hard to keep race top of mind after left-wing activists put pressure on the networks to change the way they portray black people and the police.
Hollywood took a knee and the results are now on full display. In the season 5 premiere of NBC’s This Is Us, the Black Lives Matter movement provokes an emotional epiphany in Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown), inspiring him to cut ties with his white therapist and to confront his white family members about their silence on race.
This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman had promised to address the BLM movement in the new season of the hit NBC drama series, saying it was important for the network to air the season premiere before Election Day so that viewers could experience the storylines before they cast their ballots.
True to Fogelman’s word, the show kicked off with the death of George Floyd and the subsequent BLM protests. Within the season’s first two episodes, the Sterling K. Brown character decides to fire his white, female therapist, saying that he could not fully open up to her because she is white.
He then confronts his white family members, particularly his sister, Kate (Chrissy Metz), for their failures to talk about race when he was a young boy. The confrontation leaves her in a state of confusion, guilt, and tears.
White guilt also plays a role in the new season of SVU. In the season opener, Capt. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) gets a lesson from Internal Affairs, who inform her about certain cops who “never see themselves as racist but are in denial about their complicity in the systemic racism of the NYPD.”
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Law & Order: SVU showrunner Warren Leight told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year that he agrees that cops are portrayed “too positively” on screen. “Collectively? Yes. Individually am I miscontributing to society? I don’t know. Collectively, are we? Yeah,” he said.
Anti-cop sentiment is also on display in Chicago PD. In the season 8 opener, Officer Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) finds himself the target of a smear campaign by white cops, who try to frame him by planting heroin in his car, according to report from MRCNewsbusters. The frame-up is apparently revenge for Atwater’s decision last season to report on a white cop’s shooting of a black man.
Watch below via MRC:
Other shows have incorporated racial justice and ani-police ideology in tangential ways.
ABC’s S.W.A.T. reportedly features a scene in its season 4 premiere in which Officer Hondo (Shemar Moore) receives a lesson in race relations from his father (Obba Babatundé), who reportedly tells him that Los Angeles cops have been killing black people since the 1960’s.
“See, it’s a generational wound that just keeps… Getting picked at every few decades because we refuse to learn the lesson,” his father says.
ABC’s The Good Doctor reportedly features a scene in which the central character of Dr. Audrey Lim wears a Black Lives Matter t-shirt.