On Accused Season 1 Episode 1, “Scott’s Story,” the show kicks off with an extremely heavy episode.
Even though the premise itself is quite grave, the intensity of the pilot is more than you’d expect from a broadcast TV show on FOX.
Starring Michael Chiklis as Scott, Oakes Fegley as Hunter, and Jill Hennessey as Lynn, “Scott’s Story” presents an impossible situation and asks a man to fix it. It is quite an episode, with genuine debates about sensitive topics such as killing your children and mass school shootings.
Although the USA is no stranger to school shootings, how “Scott’s Story” pans out is an unfortunate surprise.
As someone who isn’t a parent, it is harder to think about the “right” way to handle a situation like Scott’s. While the obvious answer is “get help for your son,” it isn’t always that easy.
However, there are several ways to avoid what occurs at the end of the episode.
Being in 2023, it’s not surprising when people make internet friends. However, the internet has come a long way from being a solely predatory place — though that does still exist, unfortunately.
There’s still a level of responsibility that comes with having children with friends on the internet, even more so when they say they’d like to travel with them.
Accused shows how, despite Scott not directly causing the school shooting, many like him don’t do enough to ensure they know what their children are doing when they’re not looking.
It’s clear that Scott (Chiklis) and Lynn (Hennessey) are afraid of their son, yet even when there’s a suggestion to bring the police in — which should have happened the second, they found Hunter’s journal — Scott decides against it.
People often say when someone they know commits a crime, “I never saw it coming.” Unfortunately, in the case of Hunter, that’s not true, which makes this whole thing morally gray.
Is it OK to kill your son? Legally, morally, no.
It’s easy to sit outside a situation and say, “Here’s what you should’ve done,” but there were options other than giving a teenager $10,000 for a trip you won’t even look into.
The fact that Scott nearly went through with killing his son but wouldn’t call the police on him shows both his fear of his son and the lack of responsibility he feels he has regarding his child.
Accused presents their story across two different timelines, showing us both before the event and the present.
In doing so, they’ve woven the answers to questions you have through the rest of the episode, either speaking it blatantly or allowing you to take from context clues.
Accused takes a story that seems straightforward — and in some ways, definitely is — and asks you to look at it beyond the usual one-dimensional way you view this type of event.
While it can be compelling to watch, even if it’s fictional, actions on Accused happen in real life far too often.
In the end, though, the show doesn’t say anything new. Instead, the show does what every media outlet does when a white person commits an act of violence — they try to humanize them, even if that is not what they deserve.
It tries to appeal to those of us with empathy by focusing on a family member instead of the shooter, yet, it still isn’t enough to make us properly feel bad for Hunter.
The show is just starting, so there’s a good chance Accused goes up from here. However, it certainly wouldn’t be shocking if, in trying to make us empathize with murderers and enablers, the show does the complete opposite.
What did you think of this episode of Accused? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Accused airs Tuesday at 9/8c on FOX.
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