‘Bloodline,’ ‘American Crime’ Editors Use a Light Touch

Creative Arts Emmys Bloodline
Courtesy of Netflix

Editors working on several of this year’s most intense dramas have found a certain surprising philosophy crucial to their cut: Restraint.

Whether wandering through the backstory of a family with a murderous secret in Netflix’s “Bloodline (pictured above),” peering in on the lives of couple of spies posing as just a couple in FX’s “The Americans,” or following characters who take on difficult racial and social problems in ABC’s “American Crime,” editors on these shows stress holding takes and allowing performances to unfold.

“This is a family with deep, dark secrets and there are deceptions as well as self-deceptions,” says Naomi Geraghty, an editor on “Bloodline.” “Nobody is ever saying what they’re saying, so part of how you build on that is by staying with those moments and you save sharp or jarring cuts for flashbacks.” When the pace of the show is held to a slow boil, those hard cuts become more impactful.

It’s part of the reason Daniel Valverde, an editor who works on spy drama “The Americans,” also focuses on controlling the pace.
“We’re going for something more cinematic so we want something more lingering and soulful and we don’t move along so quickly,” says Valverde. “This is a great time in TV, where all the shows are pushing each other to do something more interesting.”

Luyen Vu, an editor on “Crime,” says the show’s producers want him to use all the language of cinema when putting a show together and they’re open to trying more experimental pacing.

“We don’t chase dialogue, we chase experience,” says Vu. “As much as our show is about the big sociological subjects, we see those subjects through the characters and we stay with them through the show.”

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  1. dee says:

    In American Crime, there was a scene with the black man (who had the white girlfriend) when he was in jail. Two employees, dressed all in white, dragged him out of the jail and beat him then hosed him. The next time we saw him, his sister was visiting him and he had visible injuries. That scene was the only one that didn’t feel true – it felt as though it was thrown in there. His sister didn’t even ask him what happened to him. I’m sure things like that happen but it just looked false in American Crime.

    • cadavra says:

      His sister didn’t have to ask, because she already knew: he’s black. And he has a white girlfriend. In an era where a cop can kill a 12-year-old black kid and not even be indicted, it’s simply a given.

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