Timothy Hutton and Felicity Huffman as Russ Skokie and Barb Hanlon in American Crime
American Crime screenshot

The episode opens with Carter and Aubry in their respective jail cells, wearing jumpsuits so trendy they look like a United Colors of Benetton ad. At the arraignment, the couple see each other for the first time since being arrested, and Carter is eye-boning his girlfriend instead of listening to the charges against him.

Tony is thrown into juvie, and his father, Alonzo, feels guilty for letting him speak to the police without getting a lawyer. “The police lied to me!” he said. Well, there’s something that’s never happened before. Tony is definitely not about that prison life, and his new bunk mates constantly bully him. Though they never actually lay hands on him, Tony runs to the correction officer crying because they keep calling him “bitch.” Well, if the tears drip, then the shoe fits.

Back at home, Tony’s big sister calls out Alonzo for wanting to be white so that he can be accepted by society. She’s mad that her dad trusted the police more than he trusted his own son. For the first time, Alonzo is speechless. Good. I was tired of hearing him flap his gums, anyway. Tony later reveals to his public defender that he rented the car to Hector to pay his father back for being an overprotective, self-hating Mexican.

Gwen is still in a coma, and her parents, Tom and Eve, are begging Barb and Russ to consider burying Matt in Oakland, where they both live and where Gwen will move once she gets out of the hospital. Of course Barb objects because Barb objects to everything. She doesn’t want Matt to be buried in their hometown of Oakland because she worked so hard to move them all out of “that place.” If anyone could make someone else’s burial about themselves, it’s Barb. She might as well just go ahead and place her face on Matt’s tombstone. When Russ tells Barb that Matt may have been involved in dealing drugs, she has a fit and says that she will not stand for the victim-blaming.

Aubry gets out of jail and is released on felony probation, but she’s denied visitation to Carter because felons aren’t allowed to consort with other felons. The landlord throws her out because she and Meth-Head Man brought the police to his property, and for a few days she’s living on the streets. She goes to a diner, and when the customers at the next table leave cash to pay for their tab, Aubry swipes the money and tucks it into the back of her Seven jeans.

Instantly I think, “Designer jeans? Aubry must have had some coins before she fell in love with the coco!” Sure enough, she calls a man who we assume is her father and asks him for “a lot” of money. It’s clear that she’s done this before, and Aubry is wired $2,000 under the condition that she call when she gets someplace safe. Aubry checks into a hotel, calls the man back with the name of it and then hangs up the phone immediately. Talk about ungrateful! If I was her father, homegirl would’ve been turning tricks on the street until her attitude sweetened up a little. Why bite the hand that feeds you?


Barb goes to talk to Detective Thompson, the black woman who has taken the lead on the case. In true Barb fashion, she refuses to listen to anything the detective has to say about Matt—partly because it’s unflattering, but mostly because it’s coming out of African-American lips. Clearly, Barb’s 1960s views are aligned with her 1960s hairstyle. Talk about throwback Thursday.

Hector works out a plea deal with the police, so I know he snitched about something. Joke’s on him, though, because guess who has a warrant out for murder back in Mexico? Adios, Hector! It’s extradition time.


Earlier at the arraignment, we learned that Carter was charged with raping Gwen and penetrating her with an object. But when her rape kit comes back from the lab, Carter’s DNA is not a match. The real shocker, though, is that Gwen wasn’t raped at all! The object, the semen from multiple men—all something Gwen signed up for. That’s a pretty hard pill for her Bible-thumping parents to swallow. Tom’s face turned 50 shades of gray as he heard the news, while Eve clutched her pearl necklace imagining the ones her kinky daughter was used to.  

The episode ends with Barb reaching out to an advocacy group and expressing her desire to have Matt’s murder treated as a hate crime. To Barb it is definitely an “us vs. them” thing, and she vows to do whatever it takes to seek justice for her child. Uh-oh. Barb’s about to get buck wild.


Who knows where this story is going? But since Regina King is about to make her big debut, I’m almost certain American Crime is going to get turned up another notch!

Kerry Coddett is a stand-up comedian, writer and actress from Brooklyn, N.Y. She’s also the creator of The Coddett Project, a sketch-comedy web series. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.