There’s more to American Crime than the average TV crime drama. The show, which was created by Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley (12 Years A Slave), opens with a home invasion that leaves a young war veteran dead and his wife seriously injured. When the veteran’s divorced parents (Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton) come to Modesto, California to bury their son, they discover that the case is anything but cut-and-dried. Hutton’s character is a recovering gambler and Huffman plays an unabashed racist–it’s a volatile mix. The widowed woman’s parents, Eve and Tom Carlin (Penelope Ann Miller and W. Earl Brown), are easier to like. American Crime is tremendous at establishing these characters.
Veteran actor W. Earl Brown plays Carlin with gravitas. Brown’s been in a long list of TV shows from Seinfeld to Murder, She Wrote to Six Feet Under. His next big role will be as Teague Dixon in Season 2 of True Detective with Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams. American Crime viewers might recognize Carlin as Dan Dority from Deadwood, or as Warren, Cameron Diaz’s brother, in There’s Something About Mary. American Crime premieres on March 5, 10pm on ABC.