Last year, I reviewed the pilot to ABC's American Crime and was lukewarm on the series that came off as an excuse to do a cable-style show on broadcast. Other viewers apparently weren't too keen on it either and the series floundered with poor ratings for its entire run. However, ABC turned some heads when it announced that it was renewing the show for a second season. If that decision wasn't vindicated by Regina King's Emmy win last year, the marked improvement of this season's premiere should do the job.

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Let me say now that the show does still push the boundaries of what the FCC will allow... and what a Disney-fan site should be discussing. Thus, I won't be talking much about the plot or the crime that this season revolves around — suffice to say it's a sensitive issue that is sure to turn some viewers off. That being said, in the four episodes I've seen so far, the show feels less graphic. Basically, if the first few words spoken of the premiere don't trigger you, you might be safe.

Since American Crime is an anthology show, many of the same cast members are back but in different roles. Returning are Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, Lili Taylor, and the aforementioned Emmy winner Regina King among others. Joining the cast this time around are Connor Jessup, Trevor Jackson, Joey Pollari, and Andre Benjamin of Outkast fame. Each cast member succeeds in their new role, with more nominations for this season likely come awards time.


Show creator John Ridley has said that the series is about not just the crime itself but the effects of it and the ripples it creates throughout the community. Last year, that involved a lot of racism. While that particular element seems to be diminished some this season (while still being present), it's not the only hot topic the show tackles while widening its scope. Overall, I thought this season did a good job of being engaging, gripping, and thought-provoking without being overly preachy or heavy-handed.

After watching the first episodes of season one, I abandoned the show and left it for dead. However, I'd be surprised if I do the same this year. After watching the first four episodes of this season, I am hooked and am truly interested to see where this story goes from here. While some recent attempts to join the "anthology series" fad have failed (namely True Detective season two), it's good to see that the formula can not only work to produce a quality second season but one that improves on its predecessor. American Crime does just that. So could ABC end up ordering a third season of the show? If this arc continues as strongly as it has begun, it'd be a crime not to.AMERICAN CRIME - "Season Two: Episode Two" - Hours after Anne places a 911 call seeking help for her son, Taylor, she begins the byzantine process of getting authorities to pay attention to the alleged crime. Meanwhile, Leslie works to position The Leyland School ahead of the forming investigation; Terri has an intervention with son Kevin; and Eric's true self is revealed, on "American Crime," WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 13 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EST) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Bill Matlock) FELICITY HUFFMAN, TIMOTHY HUTTON

American Crime's second season premieres Wednesday, January 6th at 10 p.m. on ABC.