The Red Line (2019)
1 user 1 critic

This Victory Alone Is Not the Change We Seek 

Tia receives a financial windfall from an unlikely source, putting her back in the race for alderman against Nathan Gordon. Also, Paul makes a profound and life-changing revelation about ... See full summary »


Thomas Carter


Caitlin Parrish (created by), Erica Weiss (created by) | 2 more credits »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Noah Wyle ... Daniel Calder
Emayatzy Corinealdi ... Tia Young
Aliyah Royale ... Jira Calder-Brennan
Noel Fisher ... Paul Evans
Howard Charles ... Ethan Young
Elizabeth Laidlaw ... Vic Renna
Vinny Chhibber ... Liam Bhatt
Michael Patrick Thornton ... Jim Evans
Glynn Turman ... Nathan Gordon
Alano Miller ... Isaiah
Corey Reynolds ... Harrison Brennan
Enuka Okuma ... Suzanne Davis
Enid Graham ... Amanda Sharp
J.J. Hawkins ... Riley Hooper
Kristina Valada-Viars ... Elizabeth


Tia receives a financial windfall from an unlikely source, putting her back in the race for alderman against Nathan Gordon. Also, Paul makes a profound and life-changing revelation about himself, on part two of the two-part finale of The Red Line.

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Crime | Drama






Release Date:

19 May 2019 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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User Reviews

Season One
4 July 2019 | by zkonedogSee all my reviews

There really are two ways to look at Red Line as a series: On one hand, it seems like something CBS could have streamed over its All-Access platform in terms of overall production value and content. This depth of material (even in miniseries form) isn't usually seen on the airwaves of the major networks. In that sense, Red Line is an unqualified success. On the other hand, despite a great start/setup, the final episodes really descend into a thick, almost cloying sense of "schmaltz", for lack of a better word. Very little nuance whatsoever is applied.

For the basic setup, this show begins with Harrison Brennan (Corey Reynolds), who is black, witnessing a late-night gas station burglary in Chicago. When Officer Paul Evans (Noel Fisher) shows up on the scene, he immediately identifies the innocent Brennan as a threat and fatally shoots him. As a result of this cop-on-black-man violence in which Officer Evans looks to get "off the hook", Harrison's husband Daniel (Noah Wyle), daughter Jira (Aliyah Royale), and a black female candidate for city Alderman, Tia Young (Emayatzy Corinealdi), fight for justice. Along the way, a number of familial revelations and twists-and-turns are revealed that in equal parts fracture and strengthen the bonds between all parties involved.

To be honest, I was initially drawn to this series by Wyle, whose work in Falling Skies really caught my eye back when that show was still airing. He is indeed great for his role here, and he and Fisher often steal the show in the acting department. I was also impressed by the setup, or the first 3-4 episodes. The show creators (Caitlin Parrish & Erica Weiss) do try to tell both sides of the very complicated story, and especially in the early goings really succeed in this task. The way this show sets up, it looks to be a really dynamic look at either side of issues that could be ripped right from current news headlines.

The problem I had with Red Line, however, is that after that great setup it really seemed to devolve into a series of outrageous dramatic herrings and an almost non-stop string of contrived revelations. While I realize that is kind of the definition of televised drama, the final four or so episodes really pushed that concept into "ridiculous" for me. Every episode-and often multiple times per episode-something big (often outrageous) would happen to reinforce the core messages. In other words, there is very little nuance to Red Line, especially as it winds to a close. Instead, its messages are continually hammered home with very little time for thought or reflection.

Not helping matters either is that while the show seemed to want to tell a "both sides of the story" type narrative, objectively it does not. While it may pay lip service to Evans and his "cop brethren" side of the tale, he seems to be used as much as a pawn to set up the next social issue tackled as anything else. If the writers really wanted to explore his character in-depth I believe they could have, but again this show seemed more concerned about its messages than the treatment of certain characters.

The way I look at Red Line in final summation is that if one is a progressive and passionate about social issues, this is about as feel-good of a show as it gets. It's not all "sunshine and rainbows", to be sure, but the messages are ones of overwhelmingly social justice and positivity from that point of view. However, if one is drawn to really nuanced characters and plots, this one might be a bit of a disappointment, as it becomes very clear that all the characters/events are essentially pawns in the chessboard of putting the social issues front-and-center. That is how I come to my right-down-the-middle 2.5 star rating: Red Line gave me perhaps more than enough interesting/inspirational social topics, but not nearly enough crafting/nuance of those topics to make me really engage in the material beyond a "rah rah" surface level.

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