three months from now, on television
it’s an episode of some cop show that everyone watches, but no one watches seriously. a Law and Order, or a CSI.
it’s about the Mike Brown shooting, but it’s not really, because that’d be too political.
here’s how it goes
the squad you know and like (which happens to be full of relatable, familiar white people) is on the lookout for a murderer, because that is what cops do. they fight crimes.
they spot two young men walking suspiciously near the crime scene, but they’re not be black men. that’d be too political, but they could be two Asian men. what kind of Asian? it doesn’t matter, but they might be dressed up like gangsters. if we’re lucky, the Asian guys don’t do anything suspicious when the police ask them to stop, but more likely they’ll do something like reach into their pockets or get mad.
close up on the male protagonist’s face: he hasn’t been sleeping well, because of the brutality of this murder. or maybe it’s because he’s been fighting with his wife, or because his oldest son is troubled and won’t speak to him. whatever is the case, he will fire his gun. only once, because this is an accident, and he is a good person. he made a mistake.
but one of the Asian men falls, and dies. the male protagonist stares, traumatized, at the dead guy’s body, and the first act ends.
here is what happens after the shooting.
“it’s not your fault,” the male protagonist’s female partner says, gripping him on the shoulder–but in a platonic way that makes the engagement ring on her hand glint.
“it wasn’t your fault,” the newbie who has always looked up to the male protagonist says. maybe the newbie is chewing on his bottom lip out of worry.
the gruff police chief–the male protagonist’s boss–doesn’t say anything like that, but he might pat the male protagonist on the back in a gruff way.
the male protagonist says “i’m Fine” a lot, exactly like that. fine with a capital f, like he’s biting off the tip of a bullet. he throws himself into his work.
there’s an investigation done by Internal Affairs, but that guy is a jerk and a bureaucrat, and everyone hates him because he calls the male protagonist a “maverick” in a way that implies that it’s a bad thing when that’s clearly not the case. besides, there’s a murderer still on the loose, so no one cares about boring Internal Affairs stuff. they catch the bad guy and throw him in jail, but the male protagonist starts having guilt dreams.
a wake and memorial service is held for the Asian guy whose name no one remembers–the dead one. the alive Asian guy has seemingly disappeared off the face of the planet. because of his guilt dreams, the male protagonist goes to the service with the newbie. no other cops are there, because policemen do not inflame violence. he gets recognized, and the crowd gets angry–and here is when black people will appear, because it’s not political to show angry black people.
there’s a couple of shots of the pair being jostled by a large intimidating crowd. someone throws a bottle, and the newbie–because he is new and inexperienced–will panic and fire his gun into the air. no one gets hurt–obviously–but all hell breaks loose. the wake turns into a riot and the two cops barely escape, with a couple of artful bruises.
“what have you done” the gruff police chief will yell, but secretly he Understands. nevertheless, the riot spirals out of control. the police department tries to keep order, but for some reason the entire department seems to consist of only that one squad, the squad of misfits that everybody knows and likes. they’re always being dwarfed by the screaming masses, and they’d never use tear gas or rubber bullets because a) that’s wrong and b) they are underfunded anyway, they don’t have cool riot gear. for some reason the gruff police chief never calls for aid from SWAT teams or troopers, or if he does, he gets a total bully of a guy who only wants to scare people, so the gruff police chief will chase him away with something badass, like “not in my town.”
the rioting gets the the attention of the reporters, of course, who are all annoying and sensationalist, but unfortunately there’s nothing the state can do against the bully that is freedom of the press. at one point the crowd might overwhelm the female partner of the male protagonist, and the annoying news people are documenting this, the fucking assholes, so the male protagonist (whose makeup shows that he probably hasn’t slept in a week, poor guy) gets upset and cries out, “damn it, can’t you tell we’re trying to keep the peace here?!”
the male protagonist probably breaks down after this, in the arms of his female partner–platonically–and admits that he hasn’t been Fine after all. in fact, his PTSD has gotten so bad that he might have tried to harm his spouse in his sleep. “you made a mistake,” the female partner will say, “but i forgive you.” and it works. the male protagonist suddenly feels loads better, since it was an accident anyway, and that’s the point of the whole story.
all that’s left is to resolve the riot! the male protagonist ventures foolhardily into the crowd amid cries of protest from the newbie and his female partner (the gruff police chief might frown a little, but that’s all). he says, heroically, “i made a mistake.” because it’s true, he shouldn’t have shot the Asian guy whose name no one watching will recall. he shouldn’t have gotten his personal feelings mixed up with his work. “take me if you want, just leave the rest of my squad alone.”
the crowd goes silent as they realized that the male protagonist was actually Just Like Them all along. then, the leader of the riots–who is white, because that shows how diverse the riot had been and also how NOT political everything is–sends everyone home. “let the cops do their jobs,” the white riot leader says, and everyone listens to him, because he’s a reasonable guy and has been all along.
the episode ends. if we’re lucky, the credits might mention Mike Brown, or Ferguson, but they probably don’t.
it’s not political.