When They See Us was released on Netflix on May 31, 2019 and was written and directed by Ava DuVernay. The story is told in a four episode miniseries as it follows the Central Park 5, which was a group of five boys who were wrongly charged with raping and assaulting Trisha Meili. It goes through the boys’ lives during the trial, during prison, and after prison. It offers very real situations and at times it makes you furious just seeing how the boys were treated. The story also offers a lot of emotional moments as you end up feeling very connected to the 5 boys and wanting them to be treated fairly.
The cast for this show is pretty great. I won’t dive into each person individually, however the 5 boys were phenomenal. They did a great job playing their characters and showed a lot of emotion. None of it seemed cheesy and it all seemed very real with what they were feeling. All of the other actors and actresses in this show also played their roles well. Everyone definitely did a great job making this.
Episode 1 features the story of the whole group of kids. It shows them all going to the park and just messing around and having a good time. They aren’t really causing a lot of trouble, besides hassling a few bikers. They never even saw a woman while they were all out. The second half of the episode shows the interrogations of all the boys. It shows the abuse they took from police and how they were practically forced to confess. This episode definitely did it’s job in conveying true emotions. It showed the boys crying and being scared because they truly didn’t even know what the cops were talking about while being interrogated.
Episode 2 shifts it’s attention to the trial. It shows all of the conversations that the families had with the attorney’s and shows how the trial played out. The state practically had no evidence that any of the boys had committed the crime besides their confession tapes. At the end of the episode you hear the verdict and all of the boys are announced to be guilty. I also liked this episode a lot as it allows for the audience to really connect with the characters. You get to see all of the emotions that are running through their heads and feel what they are feeling.
Episode 3 then moves to their time behind bars. It then translates to them as adults with their time being done and they are now in a free world again. It dives into each character individually and shows how being away from the real world for so long has changed them. This episode also doesn’t show Korey’s journey as he was an adult when he was sentenced so he had to go through the actual prison system. The four men who were freed had somewhat changed a lot, however somewhat were the same. They all had trouble looking for work as they had criminal records and were sex offenders. This episode did get boring at parts, however I still think that it was a necessary part of the story. It definitely conveyed the struggles that past convicts go through once they are back in the regular world.
The fourth episode, and the final one, was about Korey’s time in prison. It was very difficult for him and he was constantly beat up because of his case. He had a guard who was very nice to him at one of the prisons, however he wanted to transfer to be closer to his mother. The transfer really didn’t move him any closer at all and he was back to being hurt again. He lived in solitary confinement most of his time in prison just so that he didn’t have to risk his life. Towards the end of the episode it is revealed that someone else confessed to the crime so the 5 men were all exonerated of their crimes.
Overall, I thought that this short series was very important, and also a great watch. It gave out a very great message and told a story in a different perspective. It showed the horrors that all of those boys went through from their childhood until they were adults. This show did a great job of translating the true story into the TV show. I believe that this show should be watched by everyone, as I think it is important in today’s current society. I give this show an 8 out of 10 on the scale of awesomeness because it told a great story and it really conveyed true emotions in the story and all of the characters.
Thank you for reading my review of When They See Us and feel free to comment what you thought of the show. You may also leave suggestions for any other movie or TV show you would like to see reviewed or ranked. Cinema lovers unite!