Monday, September 21, 2020

REVIEW: 'Manhunt: Deadly Games' - Richard Jewell Runs Into Action When a Bomb Is Discovered in 'Centbom'

Spectrum's Manhunt: Deadly Games - Episode 2.01 "Centbom"

Security guard Richard Jewell saves hundreds of lives when he discovers a bomb at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. But his heroic act quickly comes under the scrutiny of law enforcement as pressure mounts to catch the killer.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of Spectrum's Manhunt: Deadly Games.

"Centbom" was written by Andrew Sodroski and directed by Michael Dinner

Richard Jewell doesn't view himself as a hero. He isn't the only officer who helps get people to safety during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta before the bomb goes off. He is praised as such though because he is the one who found the bomb and chose to call it in. Other officers wave him off as a security guard who takes things way too seriously. No one really treats him with respect. He has some sense of authority. But it doesn't compare to the other officers in the park. In fact, Richard may just be notable for ensuring that the crew members at this concert stay hydrated. That's important to him. That's him looking out for his community. He may desperately want to join law enforcement. He views the Olympics as an opportunity for him to pad his resumé. But he is thrust into this heroic position. The opening section of this premiere shows him being compassionate and concerned about the safety of those around him even to the detriment of his own health. He goes back into the tower to ensure that those crew members are safe before the bomb goes off. The park isn't cleared out in time. Two people tragically die while others are injured. Richard can provide some comfort. But it's not long before the spotlight turns on him significantly. His employer wants to highlight his service as a way of demonstrating the value that they provide as a partner to the city for the Olympics. It may all be a blatant attempt to cash in on the moment. However, it's still uplifting to see stories of every day heroism. Richard is modest. He doesn't want all of this credit to himself. In fact, he immediately believes that the CNN interview was a disaster. He doesn't know what he is doing in that environment. And yet, the show treats this entire story as one of profound twists and turns. Richard Jewell is an every day guy who was suddenly forced into the public spotlight. As such, that makes him a target when law enforcement feel the crushing need to solve this case as quickly as possible so that the citizens of Atlanta can feel safe at the Olympics. That's the chief concern for the mayor of the city. He wants the park to reopen immediately. Meanwhile, the FBI agents need to exhibit their dominance. They need to be the ones in control of this crime scene and determining what happens next. The ATF agents are more than willing to partner on the case since they have been there since it happened and their national lab is stationed in Atlanta. Instead, the FBI props up their own capabilities. This case may eventually be solved by two determined agents in a makeshift lab in the garage. That's how Earl Embry believes he can crack this case. It's a mystery that needs to be solved. He has the expertise to remain in the loop. He can pass that wisdom onto his partner. He needs to understand the bomb. That will provide him with all the clues he needs to understand how all of this happened. Meanwhile, the FBI are looking at Richard as the prime suspect because his life could be seen as matching up to a profile that has defined past bombers. It's a story that makes sense to the agents in charge. They can get behind it while providing everyone with a simple explanation that can put this to rest right away. Richard's church applauds him as a hero. They are grateful to his mother, Bobi, as well for raising him to be a noble and honorable man. Others don't share that perception. They are programmed to be suspicious of everything and everyone. That isn't a healthy mentality. And it's one that is going to make this case much more dramatic as it evolves and personally destroys even more lives. That extends from the competitive nature of life needing to prove something. People need answers for how this happened. Law enforcement is trusted to provide those answers and protect the innocent when the worst happens. The city is grateful to Richard Jewell for his quick actions. However, there is a pompous attitude when it comes to chasing a scandalous story that fits a pre-programmed narrative without actually chasing the factual evidence and clues left behind. The expectations are set high. Mistakes can't be made. But they tragically are.