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Everything You Need To Know About Ava Duvernay’s New Drama ‘The Red Line’

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CBS’s new drama The Red Line tackles familiar territory on the surface but it definitely aims to be more than just another cop drama set in Chicago. HipHollywood attended the press day for the Ava Duvernay executive produced series and got the scoop on what sets this show apart. Here’s everything you need to know.

IT’S NOT JUST ANOTHER SHOW ABOUT CHICAGO

While there seems to be plenty of storytelling set in the Chicago on the small screen, (The Chi, Shameless, Chicago P.D.) The Red Line focuses on the socioeconomic divide between the North Side and the South Side of the city.

Noah Wyle of “ER” stars as a high school history instructor who lives with his doctor husband (Corey Reynolds) on the North side. Five minutes into the pilot episode, the African-American doctor, picking up milk on the way home, is shot and killed by a young, jumpy white Irish-American Chicago Police Department officer (Noel Fisher), mistaking him for an armed robber.

Pictured: Aliyah Royale, an adopted black teen with questions about her identity, and her adopted father played by Noah Wyle.

The couple’s adopted African-American daughter (Aliyah Royale), who attends high school where her father teaches, processes her grief her own way, seeking out a meeting, against her surviving father’s wishes, with her birth mother (Emayatzy Corinealdi), a candidate for 6th Ward alderman. The candidate is married to a Red Line transit driver (Howard Charles) whose north/south runs give the series its metaphorically loaded title evoking blood, divisions, dozens of different neighborhoods.

IT’S NOT JUST ANOTHER COP SHOOTING DRAMA

While we have seen drama’s about cops shooting unarmed black men (Seven Seconds) or a black cop shooting an unarmed white man (Shots Fired) The Red Line aims to do something slightly different.

Pictured: Elizabeth Laidlaw as police officer Vic Renna, and Noel Fisher as her partner, police officer Paul Evans, who is responsible for the shooting.

This time around while the community feels deep despair over the tragic loss so does the officer. In The Red Line, Paul — the young cop in question feels some legitimate remorse for shooting the Black doctor, Harrison, and slowly begins to question whether there may have been some unacknowledged racism behind his decision to pull the trigger without first assessing the situation.

“It’s a family drama, but it’s also about black men who every other month are being killed,” explained Corinealdi. “It’s an epidemic and it’s a problem and this show is attempting to address that through the lens of a family drama.”

IT’S GOT COMPELLING CHARACTERS & LOTS OF HEART

Besides the police shooting theirs also the adopted Black daughter looking for her birth mother storyline, that will pull on your heart strings. Naturally she has just lost her father to a white police officer, and she wants to connect with her birth mother because — as loving and wonderful as her adopted dad is — he can’t possibly understand what she is going through.

Pictured: Emayatzy Corinealdi as Tia Young, a political wunderkind, and Howard Charles as Tia’s husband, Ethan Young, a red line train operator.

Aliyah Royale who plays the young girl and  Emayatzy Corinealdi who plays her birth mother both give compelling performances that required them to really dig deep.

“It’s hard enough being a teenager, because I’m still 18 so I completely understand it, says Royale who plays Jira Calder-Brennan. “But when you’re a teenager thrown into adult circumstances there’s so much more that comes with it, there’s so many emotions.”

Overall as the lives of each seemingly unrelated family crisscross and converge, a message of hope appears.

The Red Line airs Sunday at 8/7c on CBS.

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