Early 'Law & Order' Episode Parallels the Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin Case
I've been revisiting the first season (1990) of "Law & Order" (it was more of a gritty, NYC cop show back then with less knee-jerk liberalism than the current crop, although I still watch SVU for some reason) via Netflix and the second episode, "Subterranean Homeboy Blues" (obviously a play on the Bob Dylan song), has a lot of parallels to the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin brouhaha.
In it, a white woman (played by Cynthia Nixon, who had a long career before "Sex & The City") shoots two young black men in the subway, killing one and paralyzing another, and when prosecuted, claims self-defense. The writers apparently based the story on the 1984 Bernhard Goetz subway shooting case, but they added a gender twist to the mix and the race factor doesn't really come up until halfway through the episode. In fact, the woman is represented by a black female attorney--and she's applauded by women all across NYC--who sympathizes with her in sisterly (not "sistahly") solidarity.
When the question of race does arise, it's done so in a much more nuanced fashion than anything I can imagine coming out today, which says a lot about how far we've regressed in that regard. And in the end (which I won't give away), although the case is decided, the viewer is left wondering who really told the truth. That's because, as in today's "he said/they all said" case, no one really knows what happened except for the people involved. And justice is not always a cut and dry affair.
posted by Cinnamon @ 12:28 PM