The Red Line is not your typical CBS show — and that may be a good thing.
From executive producers Ava DuVernay and Greg Berlanti, the eight-part series follows the aftermath after a black doctor is mistakenly shot and killed by a white police officer during a convenience store robbery, and how it affects three different families. Named after the train line that runs through the length of Chicago, The Red Line touches on topics that go beyond weekly cases that dominate the network’s portfolio of police procedurals and legal dramas.
“There are two Americas living side by side and many different privileges and justices exist depending on the side,” co-creator Caitlin Parrish told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday.
Because CBS hasn’t actively dipped its toe in dramas exploring timely topics like police shootings, race and socially-conscious storytelling, co-creator Erica Weiss addressed whether the network had discussions over the show’s creative direction. “There was nothing we wanted to tackle or explore when it came to the thornier elements where we were told, ‘No, we won’t do that.'”
According to DuVernay, who wasn’t present on the panel, having The Red Line live on CBS, an unlikely home for an intense drama such as this one, was entirely the point.”That’s why I like that it’s there. Kinda the whole point. Opening up conversation and encouraging empathy in all kinds of places, even unexpected places, may be a path to growth for all of us. Worth a try,” she tweeted Wednesday.
Noah Wyle, who plays Daniel Calder, the grieving widower whose husband dies, got visibly choked up when he spoke about how the first script resonated with him. “The emotional reaction that I had to the first reading of this script was so intense, I’ve never had a reaction like that,” he said. “I can’t even talk about this show without getting upset.”
“Who could break this man? And they did it!” exclaimed Aliyah Royale, who plays Wyle’s adopted daughter, Jira. Watch the emotional trailer below.
The Red Line launches with back-to-back episodes Sunday, April 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, and will run as two-hour installments across four Sundays.