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For all that broadcast TV’s power has attenuated in recent years, what they choose to put on still means something — and, from a certain point of view, something more than the choices made by prestige outlets. After all, the reach of broadcasters is without parallel. They’re simply in that many more homes than prestige cablers and streamers, even as their peak audience (or even their audience five years ago) seems unattainable now.
Which makes it important and worth noting when a network makes a choice more ambitious than the mix of family comedies and procedurals that still performs well enough. Not every element of CBS’s new drama “The Red Line,” about the aftermath of a police shooting in Chicago, works perfectly, but the show is trying to do something unusual in today’s landscape — use the big, broad emotional strokes of broadcast at its best to usher the viewer into a story of minute social divisions. Its story of three families — one mourning the death of their father, one dealing with a son’s culpability as the cop who pulled the trigger, and one pulled by politics and Shakespearean complications into both — rings true even as it develops endless complication. Co-produced by TV maestro Greg Berlanti and director Ava DuVernay, the story combines the pair’s strengths: The plainspokenness of Berlanti’s work and the nuance of DuVernay’s meld into a story whose strength comes in part from the audience it may potentially reach.
TV - Review - Red - Line
TV Review: 'The Red Line'
The pilot follows Harrison Brennan (Corey Reynolds) on his way home from work at the hospital where he practices medicine; he’s coming home to partner Daniel (Noah Wyle of “ER”) and their daughter Jira (Aliyah Royale), but not before he grabs milk at a corner store that happens to be the exact wrong place...
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