Who Is El Muerto?

851 Words4 Pages
American Crime’s third season premiere begins simply. A black screen and white text display the words of a distressed observer relaying the unseen to the 911 operator over the choppy phone line, “...hay un cuerpo flotando en el río… Es un muerto.” The sounds of rippling water accompanies a fade in from black to the sight of the grey, lifeless hand of “[el] cuerpo” contrasting with the swift movements of the water submerging him. A cut to a zoomed out view reveals a young man’s body: he floats alone along the riverbank of a dark and grim landscape. The dark ambiance is continued as various still shots of plant life compel reflection on the circumstance of the John Doe. Who is el muerto? A new setting is established as the scene fades into…show more content…
Nevertheless, the red capped man offers payment, and his trip is secured.
Red and blue lights flash in the reflection of the man’s eyes, who is now seated on a bus. The breaks of the vehicle squeal as it slows down. The camera moves, following the heart of the morbid scene outside of the bus windows: the dead man’s body surrounded by police. With each season, American Crime takes the country’s most contested issues and develops them into multiple seemingly unrelated plots, eventually connecting them to uncover a greater truth about the United States. Among the list of the most divisive issues in the United States is the one regarding illegal immigration. In the first scene, only the voices of the 911 operator and a Spanish-speaking man are themes of the season will involve immigration (specifically involving immigrants hailing from Central and South America) before characters are even introduced. More specifically, the show will examine the ways in which undocumented immigrants are treated in the U.S. Although a report of the dead body was made, the man floats alone in the river. This further suggests that the caller may have an undocumented status and/or is familiar with the deceased man, as many are too fearful of deportation to risk contact with police. The cadaver is also adorning the blue collar-man’s attire of dirty jeans and work boots: an outfit suited for field work.
The compilation of focused shots of vegetation, as well as the shift in focus
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