Still at a relatively early point in her career, Ava DuVernay has already made a powerful impression with the varied nature of her work. In just the last four years, she has directed an acclaimed historical epic (Selma), a searing documentary about racial injustice (13th), and a fantastical, family-friendly literary adaptation (A Wrinkle in Time). In the midst of all that productivity, she somehow found time to executive produce a TV series (Queen Sugar), a professional evolution that continues with her latest project: The Red Line.
If there’s one thing that unites DuVernay’s body of work, it’s a constant probing of themes related to race—and that understandable preoccupation continues in this new series from writers Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss. The official synopsis describes this as “a drama that follows the lives of three vastly different Chicago families whose stories of loss and tragedy intersect in the wake of the mistaken shooting of an African-American doctor by a white cop.” From the crisscrossing and converging of the Calder, Young and Evans families, we experience a message of hope: “it’s possible to emerge from tragedy stronger, and it’s important to come together with others, not just to survive, but to thrive.”
For long-term TV buffs, this series also presents an exciting new opportunity (after Falling Skies and The Librarians) for Noah Wyle to recapture the small screen magic he sustained over hundreds of episodes as ER’s John Carter. As Variety recently explained, he plays Daniel Calder, the husband of the aforementioned shooting victim. In the aftermath of this tragedy, he struggles with grief and his newfound responsibilities as a single parent. While much of the series remains cloaked in mystery, the initial clues suggest that Wyle and company are getting a rare opportunity to wrestle with timely, fertile dramatic material.
The Red Line premieres midseason on CTV.