When They See Us Episode 1: Part One

When They See Us episode 1 starts its very first episode with a mournful introduction to the incident of the Central Park Five in New York City.

When They See Us summarizes the saying, “Wrong place at the wrong time.” For us, this may be a short series, but for those five, this story is a part of their life, and it’s hard to forget or ignore the incident when the story kicks off. This first episode titled PART 1 sets up the night that these five boys’ lives changed forever, and it’s intense. When They See Us starts its first episode in Harlem 1989, where we see five teenagers living their regular lives. They were Kevin Richardson, Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Antron Mcray.  They will later be called to as the Central 5, but for now, they’re every day, common teenagers who love to enjoy their very own life. The same evening, they each meet with a group of kids just like them partying and set out for Central Park. In most of the cases, teenager’s party gets out of control. This party is no different as well. The party gets out of control and later on the police arrive. Because of that, they all start to run away but a few of them, including Kevin and Raymond, eventually being apprehended.

Detective Linda Fairstein shows up at the scene of a crime. That night in 1989 was like any other night for the five teenagers.  They were out with their friends for partying and getting up to no good. What they were not doing was plundering on an innocent woman who was jogging around Central Park. Unfortunately, the authorities were determined on showing this was not the case. The authorities were trying to prove that these five kids were responsible for the brutal beating and rape of a young female jogger and nearly beaten to death, which performs as the catalyst for what follows. The next day morning, as the boys’ parents reach the police station, the Detective initiates questioning some of the teenagers who were arrested in the raid.

Linda determines that the kids were not witnesses to the rape after all. However, it assumes as they were “Wilding” they do have something in what happened in that park. She manages all the other officers to take into custody everyone that was in the Central park last night because the number of rapes has been increasing significantly over the previous year and she thinks like they have to start taking some steps over these types of workings.

The police then reach Antron’s house to catch him as they know he was there in Central Park the night before. Later on, Yusef and Korey also get taken to the police station the next day despite the fact that Korey was not on the list. As dread and desperation become the breathtaking matters of the When They See Us episode 1. Kevin Richardson’s mother had to go from the station because she had to get her medication, which pleases the policemen. The policemen pleased as now they will be able to examine him without his parent.

Antron, Yusef, and Raymond are being interrogated as well. One after another we experience them being questioned ruthlessly and told that the others had blamed them of raping the female jogger. Using different dynamic methods and lies concocted for each of them, the police manage to convince them to blame each other, which ends up working in their favor. Until Yusef’s mother arrives, they interrogated her son without her present given he is a minor. When They See Us shows the wrong against these five young men almost immediately as the cops convert the whole thing off with negative motives. Then they find out that a group of rowdy kids were in Central Park as well and they begin trying to link the boys to the rape, even though nothing about either situation connected with the other. It is a gross act of injustice and to realize that this happened makes it that much harder to watch.

Later on, Linda meets with a counselor named Lederer. She wants to show her the case she has been working on. She questions the legality of what’s presented, given all the confessions are different from each other. The police then determined to work on trying to make the incident stick by bending the truth. They torture Korey to make him falsely confess before the other four boys are dumped in a holding cell. Finally, they come to the conclusion that they told to lie about them. The episode part 1 ends with all of them being arrested and taken away. As the episode starts progressing, you see the policemen continue to create pressure on each kid by telling lies about what’s going on and keeping them for entirely too long. The authorities use the strategy to get false confessions is by separating them from each other and pushing them to tell lies that incriminate each other. By the episode’s finish, the authorities convince to get each of the kids to sign a statement about the incident affirming the “confession” they ended up giving. It’s absolute cringe and frustration, and to think, this is just the start of the entire story.

When They See Us episode 1 mainly points out that this case wasn’t about the person or people at fault, but rather, what story could be made to appeal to the masses.  It’s absolutely horrendous and disgusting, and jarring to take in that some version of this actually went down.

The first part of the Netflix mini-series begins quite powerfully and gets forward to the heart of the action. The teenagers’ interrogations seem very similar to Brendan Dassey’s in Netflix’s Making a Murderer, as well as The Confession Tapes which use the same tactic. It’s a severe watch, no doubt about it, and these moments are among some of the shocking in this first episode. The actors were playing the Central Park 5 portraying their characters powerfully, each giving believable performances in their role. Given the thematic significance of this one, When They See Us episode 1 reinforces how America is rife with racism and how the justice system always seems to fail people of color. It’s a sturdy watch at times, but one that gets off to a great start. Kudos to Ava DuVernay for bringing this story back into the spotlight. It’s a story we’ve all heard of before, but haven’t seen in this emotional light–and it’s really hitting us in the feels.

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