16 April 2001 | jwarthen-3
A unique one-year series that someone should be thanked for.
Beautiful series-- a one-season long experiment that tried to reflect a tumultuous time-period (its single season encompassed JFK's death, the Civil Rights Bill, killings of Civil Rights workers in Alabama, escalation of fighting in Vietnam). George C. Scott played a social worker in Manhattan, Cicely Tyson his secretary, and before they softened the series toward the end toward whimsey, they produced at least three episodes that have stuck in my head for nearly 40 years: 1. social services take-away the child of a prostitute, who was portrayed as a devoted mother-- her grief was seismic; 2. a young black father who loses a baby to a rat's attack gets a weapon and wanders through Harlem looking for someone to kill; 3. a middle-class black couple moving to the suburbs sets off a calculated real-estate stampede, and even the liberal whites who sponsored them finally rebukes them. The second of these episodes was blocked-out in Georgia-- am surprised we got to see the other two; criticism at the time inevitably used the killing word "grim". Actors were drawn from the NY casting-pool, and shooting was done in the streets of the city.