By William Irwin
Last night my wife and I finished watching the Netflix series 7 Seconds. It’s terrific, but it’s been cancelled. Though it left loose ends for continuation, the finale of 7 Seconds was satisfying. Honestly, I’m glad that there won’t be a second season. Some things are better when they come to an end and leave you to wonder about what else could have happened.
7 Seconds begins by showing you who did it: Officer Jablonksi was racing to the hospital to be with his pregnant wife, and he accidentally hit a fifteen-year-old African-American male, Brenton Butler. Jablonski’s Jersey City PD colleagues arrive on the scene, cover things up, and tell Jablonski to drive away. The drama derives from whether Butler’s parents will discover the truth and whether the prosecutor will be able to prove it.
So what about the 7 seconds? I kept waiting … for more than 7 episodes. I guessed that the title would have something to so with the timespan of the accident or the amount of time Jablonski took to make the decision to leave the scene of the accident. But no.
The finale offers some explanation. I won’t spoil it, but suffice it so say the phrase “seven seconds” is never used. 7 Seconds is based on a Russian film, so I wondered if they were preserving a reference to the original source. But no, the title of the Russian film is The Major.
I feel a little misled by the title 7 Seconds. But my real problem with the title is that it doesn’t evoke what the show is about. I could easily have skipped it. Judging by the fact that the show has been cancelled, I suspect a lot of people did skip it. And that’s a shame.
7 Seconds couldn’t be more timely with its message that black lives matter, delivered in a gritty, realistic setting. So what would have been a better title? How about Black and Blue in Jersey City? Or if that’s too long just Black and Blue? Or just Jersey City?
Of course, everyone’s a critic. You may say I didn’t choose the best title for this blog. Go ahead.