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A Watchmen writer weighs in on the show being prescient in portraying police brutality and the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

  • The HBO series feels especially resonant amid the Black Lives Matter protests because it depicted the Tulsa PD as a group of masked, untouchable vigilantes. It is also relevant because of President Trump's plan to speak in Tulsa on Juneteenth, which he later delayed because of the African-American holiday. "I think that history’s prescient," says Watchmen writer Cord Jefferson. "Particularly when it comes to racism and how black people in this country are treated. The fact that we made a show about police violence and white supremacist violence, and, several months later, we’re dealing with police violence and white supremacist violence, that’s just because we’re making a show about history. Unfortunately, police violence and white supremacist violence are something that you can set your watch to in the United States of America." Jefferson, however, doesn't think TV shows that portray cops as heroic should be pulled. "I don’t think shows like Law & Order and Brooklyn Nine-Nine need to go away, but I think that what we need is more shows like The Wire," he says. "More shows that offer a more nuanced perspective of policing. If more shows like The Wire existed, then it wouldn’t seem like Hollywood was so in the pocket of policing in the way that a lot of people are saying that it is. For me, if you’re going to write a show about policing from now on, maybe just add some context. It becomes incumbent upon the creators who want to make shows that feel relevant to modern times, and to a diverse audience, to write shows that reflect the realities of the world, in which police and people of color are clashing pretty significantly. And a world in which police aren’t always doing things by the book, and are pretty frequently abusing people and misusing their authority. That’s all people are asking for. Why not throw some shows with a more nuanced understanding of policing to go along with Law & Order or Brooklyn Nine-Nine."


    • Watchmen's Damon Lindelof admits to Power creator Courtney Kemp his whiteness benefitted him in convincing HBO execs to depict the Tulsa Race Massacre: During a Hollywood Reporter showrunner roundtable, Kemp said: "I'll just say also that in Damon trying to bring forward certain elements that he put into Watchmen, Damon gets to do that because Damon is Damon. Damon can say, 'Hey man, I want to tell this story,' but if you have an average kid on their way in, a kid of color, who is like, 'I want to tell this story, and I think I can take Watchmen and put in the Tulsa massacre,' who is listening to that pitch? 0.00 people are taking that pitch. Let's call it what it is." Lindelof responded: "Let me just co-sign on that 1,000 percent...that entire journey started with me sitting in a room full of Warner Bros. executives and HBO executives, who are all white, with one exception, maybe, of 15 people I pitched this idea to, all white. And so there is this idea of, like, 'Have you fellows heard of the great Tulsa massacre of 1921? Don't feel bad, it's not your fault that you haven't heard of it. But wouldn't it be great, wouldn't we all feel pretty great about ourselves if we could illuminate that inside the context of Watchmen, which is a superhero space that allows for actual historical content?' But the way that that conversation is going if I'm a person of color walking into that room from the jump is radically different. I couldn't agree with what Courtney said more."


    TOPICS: Watchmen, HBO, Cord Jefferson, Courtney A. Kemp, Damon Lindelof, George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, Tulsa Race Massacre