Sometimes, “Law & Order: SVU” takes on a case we feel like can be solved within the first ten minutes. “American Disgrace,” meanwhile, was one so complicated, we still didn’t know what was going on ten minutes before the end.
Here is what we do know: Superstar athlete Shakir Wilkins was accused of rape by three separate women, and their stories matched up enough that he was eventually arrested. However, the complications came in the form of a sports brand (like Nike or Adidas) who at first, looked like they were doing everything in their power to protect a very bad bad who would destroy their business if the truth ever came out.
However, this changed dramatically when one of these accusers suddenly claimed that she was paid off in order to claim rape, even though the other two stayed firm to their word.
As the man running the company and his whip-smart daughter, Stacy Keach and Teri Polo (“The Fosters”) were fantastic throughout the hour. The real reason all of this happened, as it turned out in the closing minutes, was because Polo’s character was sleeping with Shakir, and the two forged a relationship that they tried to carry on in secret. Not only that, but she was pregnant with his child. Keach’s character was a racist, angry man, and he basically became the apparel version of Donald Sterling by the time all of this is over. The entire plot was based mostly on revenge, and him trying to take out a man out of anger.
For Shakir, the good news was that he was not a rapist, and he will go on living the rest of his life … which is probably still going to be very complicated, thanks to his divorce battle and many sexual liaisons. This was a gripping episode, and one of the most twisted and interesting in some time (other than of course a premiere and a finale). It also had a devastating end, as it was revealed that the baby was aborted after all of Shakir’s alleged victims started to come forward. Grade: A-.
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