WATCH: Sanaa Lathan & the Cast of ‘Shots Fired’ Discuss the Timeliness of the Series

Fox’s 10-hour event series, Shots Fired from Gina Prince-Bythewood and Reggie Rock Bythewood , premiered on the network last night.  The series follows a media storm that unfolds in a small North Carolina town after the murder of a white teenager by an African-American cop, and stars Sanaa Lathan, Stephan James and Tristan Mack Wilds.

The cast members sat down for a conversation presented by Applegate to discuss the timely series as it relates to the real life struggles between the police force and the Black community. Lathan shared her excitement in reuniting with Love & Basketball writer-director Prince-Bythewood, and then discussed the timely topic.  “It was almost chilling, shooting this, because the synchronicity of the themes with what’s going on literally—all the police murders, racism, and how it’s being brought from the unconsciousness to the consciousness—is just amazing,” Lathan said.

Lathan plays Ashe Akino, a tough, veteran investigator working on a police shooting that’s sparked a social justice movement in small-town North Carolina. It’s a scenario that sounds depressingly familiar — until you find out that, in this instance, the victim is an unarmed white civilian and the shooter is a black police officer. From there, the plot gets stickier, when Akino and her partner (played by Race‘s Stephan James) discover that the Department of Justice has buried the unlawful murder of a black teen.

Lathan’s hope is that the audience is “at the very least, entertained,” but also able to feel a “cathartic” sense and engage in “empathy.”

Be sure to tune into Shots Fired on Wednesdays at 8/7c.

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Tonja Renée Stidhum is a screenwriter/director with cheeks you want to pinch... but don't (unless she wants you to). She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre.

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