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Shots Fired Is the "Most Current Show You'll Ever See"

The event series is a topical new drama exploring the aftermath of two racially-charged shootings

Kaitlin Thomas

Shots Fired"is probably the most current show you'll ever see," star Richard Dreyfuss told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter previews Wednesday.

The 10-episode event series is a topical new drama from Fox that explores the aftermath of two racially charged shootings, one involving a white teenage and one involving a black teenager, in a small Southern town.

With a cast that includes Dreyfuss, Sanaa Lathan, Helen Hunt, Stephan James and Stephen Moyer, the series is described by co-creator Reggie Bythewood as an "autopsy of a town like Ferguson" that features both whodunnit and whydunnit elements. The questions of who killed Joey Campbell and why Jesse Carr was killed will weave together a charged narrative that could not be more timely given the subject of police brutality and racially motivated violence in the United States.

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The series premiere, which airs Wednesday, March 22, opens with a storyline in which a white teenager is shot and killed by a black cop (Mack Wilds) who may be racist, a controversial decision that will probably strike some viewers as odd and out of touch. According to co-creator Gina Prince-Bythewood, the decision was purposeful.

"It's very easy for people to watch the news and see a piece about a shooting, and if you don't identify with who's onscreen, you turn it off," she said. "And so we felt the best way to address this issue for us was to get people who don't normally go through this issue to understand ... to give them a way in and a way to understand. So in flipping the narrative, it allows folks who don't normally identify with these characters to empathize with them. Through empathy you can change."

"But it was also a way in because once they get down there, they discover there's been a shooting of a young black teenager," she continued. "So it also allowed us to deal with these two shootings and be able to see how the community [and] the media [treat] these two different murders of these two young boys."

Shots Fired premieres Wednesday, March 22 at 8/7c on Fox.