A year after he won the Adapted Screenplay Oscar for 12 Years A Slave, John Ridley returns with American Crime, an ABC drama which premieres at 10 PM Thursday in the spot formerly occupied by How To Get Away With Murder. As I say in my video review above, the 11-episode limited series marks a resounding flag planting by network television and tells cable that it doesn’t own poignant drama on our small screens.

Everything starts on American Crime with a brutal home invasion in Central California that claims the life of a young veteran and leaves his beauty queen wife in a coma, presumably the victim of a sexual assault. Oscar winner Timothy Hutton and nominee Felicity Huffman play the parents of the dead man, whose killing sparks an investigation that broadens to include numerous characters,  – none of them without secrets of their own.  The wide ranging story touches on a variety of long-running and deep-rooted hot-button issues — race, class, drugs, violence, prejudice, coping with loss — and does so with honesty and compassion.

What emerges is a great piece of American television that’s worthy of attention. Watch my video review and tell us what you think. Are you going to spend some of your spring and summer Thursday with American Crime?