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Primal Screen

'The Following' features the world's most unlikely evildoer

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

'The Following'


This TV movie effectively recaps the controversial 2011 trial of Casey Anthony, who was accused of killing her two-year-old daughter. It tells the story from the prosecutors’ point of view, arguing that Anthony committed the crime and lied shamelessly about it. Rob Lowe communicates the state attorney’s righteous anger at a mother who would do such a thing.

There’s only one problem: The jury found Anthony not guilty, based on the lack of hard evidence and a credible motive. Prosecuting Casey Anthony essentially retries the case and pronounces Anthony a murderer, reasonable doubt be damned. Lifetime did the same thing to Drew Peterson in a 2011 TV movie (also starring Lowe), convicting him even before his trial had taken place.

In today’s America, we’re all innocent until proven guilty on basic cable.

American Experience (8pm Tue, PBS)

If you’ve taken my advice and watched the first two installments of “The Abolitionists,” I know you will be dying to see the documentary’s thrilling finale. Will William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe et al. convince the U.S. to peacefully free millions of slaves, or will it take, in Frederick Douglass’ words, “iron, lead and fire”?

Cue Civil War. Even Garrison, so committed to pacifism, finally realized that blood had to be shed before slaveholders would give up their property. As a reward for those who watch the whole series, the documentary ends with an unforgettable scene from 1865: newly freed slaves hoisting Garrison onto their shoulders to thank him for his 35-year campaign on their behalf. I doubt any other program on tonight’s schedule will top that image.

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