Debuting tonight on the ever-evolving Spike TV, Time: The Kalief Browder Story is television you should take the time to watch. Even if the horrors of an innocent teenager thrown into the hell of Rikers Island and the broken criminal justice system is something, as I say in my video review above, that makes you want to look away.
Packed with interviews with the now-deceased Browder himself, top New York politicians, the former U.S. Attorney General and Jay-Z, plus tons of surveillance camera footage, the six-part documentary series details unflinchingly how the 2010 arrest for the theft of a backpack that he never took saw the 16-year-old African American tossed into the real life of the Bronx prison. A three-year stint that the intricate Time makes graphically clear was full of beatings and more violence, four suicide attempts and more than 700 days in solitary confinement.
While sometimes overly contrived and using unnecessary recreations, the event series executive produced by Jay-Z, Harvey Weinstein and David Glasser and directed by Jenner Furst puts a spotlight on a life that was broken. Just as important, perhaps, the powerful Time also shows a system that many across the political spectrum agree is fundamentally broken and institutionally prejudiced against people of color. With the literally and figuratively scarred Browder’s suicide in 2015, Time additionally reveals the consequences of this real American carnage that continue even when the jail doors are opened.
You can see more of what I think of Time: The Kalief Browder Story by clicking on my video review above. A success as television, Time is a fatal American tragedy that simply does not have to happen.