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‘Shots Fired’ Review: Fox’s Ambitious Limited Series Stays Too Safe For Comfort

Deadline logo Deadline 3/15/2017 Dominic Patten
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Set in a fictional North Carolina town ripped apart by two fatal shootings, Fox’s new limited series Shots Fired starts on the precipice of a politically charged and multi-perspective plot, but it doesn’t ultimately take off much beyond the bounds of Big 4 procedurals. Debuting on March 22 right before the winter-break return of Empire, the 10-episode Shots Fired has, as I say in my video review above, good and smart intentions but simply should have taken more chances.

In an atmosphere that has seen the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Michael Brown among too many others over the past few years, Shots Fired creators Gina Prince-Bythewood and Reggie Rock Bythewood and executive producer Brian Grazer are nothing if not ambitious in their aim to probe pivotal and timely issues of race, violence, the police, institutional prejudice, loss and the justice system. There are also eminently watchable lead performances by Love And Basketball alum Sanaa Lathan and Race star Stephan James as the mismatched investigator and prosecutor on the cases. Still, Shots Fired rips too much from the headlines to get stuck on the who-done-it track and strays from the more vital why-done-it — which is an opportunity missed.

The limited series, which had a preview at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival , also stars Richard Dreyfuss, Helen Hunt, Wire vet Mack Wilds, DeWanda Wise, Stephen Moyer, Clare Hope-Ashitey, Jill Hennessy, Underground’s Aisha Hinds and Will Patton. Anthony Hemingway, Eve’s Bayou’s Kasi Lemmons and Oscar-winner Jonathan Demme directed individual episodes, too.

Check out more of my take on Shots Fired by clicking on the video above.

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