American Crime, a new anthology series from Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley, aims to explore the criminal justice system in America, tackling social issues like racial profiling, drug addiction, and immigration through interwoven storylines surrounding a central crime.
Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton play a bitterly divorced couple who are brought back together by the central inciting crime, the brutal murder of their war veteran son.
"When you sign up for something like this, you have to find the human side of the character and go for it," Huffman told ET's Nichelle Turner.
Southland star Regina King, who has a recurring role as Muslim woman Aliyah Shadeed, explained that the show is also about dealing with the inherent prejudices that affect lives and the legal system in America.
"I think we all have some sort of prejudice in us," King explained. "When you watch this piece, you go, 'Oh, that sounds a little bit like me.'"
Ridley told ET that his goal in creating the show was to start a dialogue rather than make a statement. He hopes the themes in the show and the characters’ internal and external conflicts will open up a conversation among viewers about our country’s important issues.
"When we are confronted with these things, do we change or do we stay the same?" the American Crime creator pondered. "Can we become more than what we are?"
American Crime debuts Thursday, March 5 at 10 p.m. PT/ET on ABC.