CSI: Cyber, Where "Black Lives Matter" Means "White Siblings Are Crazy"
Final nail, meet coffin. Some back story first: I have never been one to give a fuck about your crime scene investigations or your special victims units or your criminal intent or any of that mess. I believed it was TV for grandparents and no matter how old I feel like I am, I'm still technically in the target demographic and I'm going to hold onto that status for as long as I can. Yes, I am 18-49, thanking you and good day, sir. So, how I came to be a viewer of CSI: Cyber is simple...
I've always had a strange thing for the Arquette family. In a weird 1990's teenager kind of way, they are my Kennedy family. I've followed most of their stuff here and there, but when Medium was on TV, I was neck-deep in drug addiction and then forehead-deep in recovery, which didn't leave much time for TV until... well, until it just up and did. Then I met my husband who had Netflix, so I married him (yes, for the free Netflix) and lo and behold was Medium just begging for me to binge the shit out of it. When I got to the end of the series, I jumped on Wikipedia, as I do once spoilers are no longer a threat, and read through the series synopsis to revel in the television memories that just recently filled my life for the little while it did. Then I got to the last paragraph and none of it sounded like what I had just watched. Cut to me in tears because my non-spoiler life was just ruined because Netflix did not have the actual final season streaming on its service ("What the fuck, Netflix?" indeed) while simultaneously crying tears of joy because there's more Medium to be had. So, a few days later, stories were properly concluded, peoples' lives properly ended, kids properly grew up, things were properly right as rain and I properly moved on from my Medium stupor.
Then came news of Patricia Arquette's new show. It was to be based on a real-life woman (just as Patricia's Medium character was) and it was the latest iteration of CSI, this time focusing on cyber crimes. Even though there was the "'CSI'=grandparents" red flag and the "this should've been set in 1998" feel to the plot, I still gave it a chance because: Patricia Arquette, lack of strong female leading roles, yay diversity, etc. How ironic that what finally causes me to leave this garbage in the dust where it belongs is how they treat minorities and real life situations. Which brings us to last night's episode, "Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes."
I forced myself to watch this episode twice, just to make sure that I wasn't being reactionary and that my take on it would be as accurate as possible. It deals with a police officer's body camera footage which appears to show him beating and shooting a compliant and unarmed black criminal to death. So far: a timely and accurate portrayal of the umpteenth stories we, as citizens of America in 2015, have unfortunately become accustomed to. How amazing it would be if they actually did a story like this justice and brought it to the forefront of Granny and Pop-pop's potentially skewed and racially motivated views, right? Too bad it's the complete opposite of amazing. I'll continue.
The internet explodes in response to the video, it trends in every state (according to the Cyber Crimes Division's giant blinking map because: "technology"), and completely swamps the FBI who assigns said crime unit to the case in order to prove that the video is forged and the criminal being murdered in it wasn't actually murdered. Even still... this could be a story taken seriously. It's a stretch at this point, but even now, they could stay the course and tell a tale of the levels police will sink to in order to try to cover their asses, even when the officer in question is probably guilty of a crime. Spoiler alert that you probably saw coming: That's not the story that gets told. If you had any hope of this being something you would appreciate, let that nonsense go.
What happens is: some hacker does, in fact, crack the police department's hi-tech computer codes, steal their body camera footage, and alter one of the videos to look like someone got murdered, who actually didn't. "Whoever hacked that footage turned the city into a racial time bomb." Get that? It's not the video of the police officer beating an unarmed and compliant black man, one of countless times, that's the problem. It's the person who edited the end of the video to make it look like the black man died. He's the one that planted the race bomb in the middle of the city. Blame rests on his shoulders and his alone.
Let me reassure: This isn't a white show about white people solving white crimes. Know how I know? 'Cause Bow Wow's in it. See? Everything's fine! 'Cause they have a black guy in the cast! And thank God, too. Otherwise, who would the white folks look to to make sure something's racist or not? Who would they get to say "Come on, you know it's not about race" to if the black guy wasn't there? And, most importantly, who would actually be angry about this fucking horseshit if the black guy wasn't there to be the angry black guy? But don't worry, he definitely wasn't the angry black guy. You know how I know? 'Cause they made him talk about not being the angry black guy! See? Everything's fine! In fact, everything is so fine, that they let precisely one other person say precisely one other thing that remotely sounded like they hated the systematic racism which results in the countless loss of black lives. It was Patricia Arquette's Avery Ryan who laments, "Sometimes I hate this job."
See?! Everything's cool! They understand everything and even white people are angry! Except, yeah... I suppose all she really said translates to "Waahhh. Don't wanna, but I will. Harrumph. Sad face." But still... they... get it?
NO. They don't fucking get it. Full stop.
After the opening sequence, we end up in the police officer's home. What started as Avery questioning him (and him admitting that he definitely beat the guy in the footage, but didn't kill him) became swarms of angry black protesters filling up his front lawn because his personal information had been "made public." (Please do note: they made sure not to say that his personal information was leaked to the press, because in the world according to CSI: Cyber, the media is also never the problem in these situations.) What does officer white guy do instantly? He reaches for his gun. Because what else is there to do, right? Thankfully, sensible Avery was there to disarm the white man with her words.
Then bricks fly through windows, black-people-bats swing toward white-FBI-agent-heads, FBI-agent-hands break black-faces, and protester-cell-phones get whipped out to film it. We're gonna pause here to let it all sink in...
A white police officer allegedly murders an unarmed black man. His personal information gets leaked to the press. The press put said information on blast. Dozens of black people pick up bricks and bats and go to this man's house. Their actions culminate in them brutalizing a white FBI agent who fights back just in time for them to film him doing so. The picture being painted here is clear: Black people are violent criminal offenders who will hurt any authority figure if they can make it look like that authority figure is trying to demonize them. The irony, of course, is the CSI: Cyber writers demonizing protesters.
For good measure, our dear Avery spouts all the reasons why the problem in this scenario is probably a white guy. Their main suspect, who hasn't tried to take any credit for doctoring the body cam footage, is just sitting idly by while chaos ensues. Then, the gruesome reality of it all manages to seep in with a few message board comments that flash over the screen while the hacker smiles. I list them below because... honestly, because it's fucking atrocious. I can see why the writers would do this to show the hatred that still exists in this world, but they could've done it in an episode of television that ACTUALLY DEALT WITH THE HATRED THAT STILL EXISTS IN THIS WORLD. Because this shit was smack dab in the middle of this particular episode of television (which does absolutely nothing positive for any race relations in any way, shape, or form)... it just feels ugly. If I'm being completely honest, it almost feels like they wrote this episode as an excuse to spit racist venom.
JohnnyCracker: "What do black men and sperm have in common? Answer: Only one in a million work." UncleWhitey: "Hilarious. But they all fight. I'm on the ground in Ashdale. Outnumbered 5 to 1. We need help." Rebel4Life: "We're with you, Brother." LynchMaster: "Save some dark meat for me!" KuntaKiller81: "It's Killin' Time!!!"
Seriously, I could end this post right here and I feel like anyone reading it would be like, "Justified. Never will I ever in my life watch this shit." But I'll go on because it gets even worse than "KuntaKiller81." Also, are they fucking serious with those screen names? Aaand... there isn't one racist on the internet who types complete sentences with punctuation. I'm just sayin'.
After the first protester kerfuffle (you remember, the one where Dawson Leery beat up the black man who tried to hit him with a bat because why wouldn't a protester attack an FBI agent with a bat?), we find our agents back in the police officer's HQ where Dawson gets a round of applause. A round of applause, ladies and gentlemen. For not getting hit in the head with a bat. By a black man. Who he beat to the ground. A... pplause.
Bow Wow looks shocked and appalled by the standing-O which lays the groundwork for his beef with Dawson. This is where the "Come on, you know that wasn't about race" card gets played. To which Bow Wow basically says "Gurl, I know you're not racist. But all these bitches around us whose e-mails I've read are. And that's why I'm upset with... you... about... them?" Yeah. I'm putting that shit in quotes. Because pretending he said that makes more sense than the nonsense the writers actually made him say. Those additional poor excuses to display blatant racism on behalf of the writers follows:
"The blacks should be put in their place." "They take our jobs, now they want our town." "Can't wait for the darkie agent to swing home."
Also, just for fun, there's an assumed predominantly black church that gets burned down. Which essentially happened just so more people could ask Bow Wow if he was alright. Because he would obviously care more about a burned down church than the heartless white people who couldn't care less. It's cool, though, because he just started dating the only other not-white person in his division. And since she asked him if he was okay, it wasn't about race. ...Right? You got us again with your tricky smarts, CSI: Cyber writers! Way to totally make it not about race once again. Kudos to you.
If I'm being honest, this episode is even more tiring the second time around. So, I'll try my best to wrap this up. One thing leads to another which leads to another which leads to why this all happened:
The culprit in this wacky case, the guy who hacked the body cameras and edited the videos and released them online and invented racism: He's the brother of the police officer wearing the body camera. They're fighting because the hacker stole the police officer's black wife from him.
Pausing again. Drink it all up:
This entire problem, based solely on a murder which occurred based on race... is actually one white man trying to punish another white man, both of whom love black women, for loving black women first. Race actually plays no part in it! See? EVERYTHING'S FINE AGAIN! It was never about race! Smiley Face! :)
After all the much needed cyber investigation, we end up in another protest where the Cyber Crime Division uses "advanced facial recognition" to spot the one white guy in the crowd who happens to be the perpetrator. They arrest his ass, bring him back to the station, interrogate him for, like, a minute and a half, until he finally gives up the ghost and states his manifesto:
Another. Fucking. Pause.
Not only is discrimination not the problem in this case, but it's also the solution! Osama bin Laden, Adam Lanza, and Dylann Roof are why! Not racism! Duh! Thanks for clearing it up, over and over again, CSI: Cyber writers. What would we ever do without you?
Then, like magic, the only thing missing from this episode conveniently gets inserted. That's right, folks: we get a car accident. Our racist cop, who isn't really racist because he's all about that black girl love, had a tracker planted on his badge (because why would he go anywhere without it, right?) by his not-racist hacker brother, which leads to a random car (which isn't controlled by the hacker brother who's currently in fucking police custody, so how are these things connected, exactly, you lazy-ass CSI: Cyber writers?) slamming into his. Immediately, a riot ensues and as soon as the rioters realize who was in the car, a molotov cocktail gets thrown.
Last pause, I swear.
A molotov cocktail. It literally takes 32 seconds for a car accident to turn into a full-blown riot because when black folks gather, they, of course, have a bottle full of liquor, some kind of combustible handkerchief and a lighter at the ready, because... you never know what might happen, I suppose?
A couple more black folks get beaten because they wouldn't "stay back" when told to do so, one of whom even gets punched by Bow Wow who's managed to somehow learn a lesson about race taught by Dawson Leary. "What's that lesson," you ask? I have absolutely no idea. And, again, I've forced myself to watch this shit twice.
The twist of all twists comes at the tail end of the episode when the black criminal (yes, that black criminal... the one murdered in the body camera footage) shows up looking extra homeless in the middle of the riot-slash-press conference-slash-mother/son reunion just to scream "STOP!" into a megaphone in time for the credits to roll.
I dare anyone to watch this shit and refute anything I've said in this post. I double-dare you. I triple-dog mother fucking dare you.
Patricia Arquette... I beg of you: quit this show. The lack of leading female roles cannot force you into sticking with this nonsense. It just can't. Quit and quit now. You will get another job. I promise. Just... do it. Please.
Next time anyone ever hears me talking about watching any kind of crime scene anything, punch me the fuck out.