American Crime is an anthology series that is both raw and thought-provoking. The show is sparking major racial, sexual and political debates, with a shocking realism rarely seen on TV. American Crime is currently airing its second season on ABC to largely positive reviews. Here are 15 facts you may not know about the series. Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!
Number Fifteen: Taylor and Eric Are Real-Life Roommates
Their on-screen relationship is obviously not great since Taylor accused Eric of sexually assaulting him at a party. However, the actors really hit it off off-screen and even decided to share an apartment during of season two, in Indianapolis. Connor Jessup, who plays Taylor, was afraid their characters’ development would affect their real-life friendship, but everything turned out all right for the buddies.
Number Fourteen: American Crime Title Issues
ABC’s American Crime and FX’s American Crime Story share a little more than the title. They both came out almost at the same time (2015 and 2016 respectively) and, to make things a bit more complicated, they’re both structured as anthology series. American Crime producers tried to get FX to change the name of their show so as not to confuse audiences, but FX wasn’t willing to do that since their show is a companion series to American Horror Story.
Number Thirteen: Lili Taylor Wasn’t Going to Return for Season two
Lili Taylor’s character in season one, Nancy Straumberg, wasn’t really written as a pivotal one, and thus, they wouldn’t have the actress back for season two. Show creator John Ridley was so impressed by her performance he immediately offered her a role in the new season.
Number Twelve: No One Wanted to Play Eric
Show producers had a really hard time finding a candidate to play Eric—the angry, brutish, homosexual athlete. The controversial nature of the character (who allegedly rapes another student) scared every candidate until Joey Pollari came to save the day.
Number Eleven: They Didn’t Think It Would Be Picked Up
ABC executives asked John Ridley to cook up a new drama series. When Ridley came up with his concept of American Crime, he didn’t think it would ever get picked up. “There was a freedom of doing what we wanted to do in the pilot because we thought no one was ever going to see it.”
Number Ten: Emphasis on Realism
American Crime deals with deeply affecting themes. In season two, a young high school boy is subject to sexual assault. To make things more realistic, the person who is examining him after the event is a real sexual assault nurse, but the actor didn’t know that.
Number Nine: Columbine Survivors Participated in the Show
Other than sexual abuse, the show’s second season also tackles the topic of school shootings. During a scene in the series, a teacher discusses his own personal experience in a school shooting—that man was a teacher during the Columbine attacks, in 1999. Other survivors of school shootings, bullying, and sexual assault also joined the cast as extras.
Number Eight: Joey Pollari Did Extreme Research
Pollari faced a really complex role as a homosexual teenager living with a homophobic family, which turns him into a cruel and aggressive individual. Pollari did heavy research on the topic of bullying and depression and tried to find as many sources as possible from real victims and survivors. Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!