If John Ridley were to commit a crime, he would want to do it in style. “Something like ‘Ocean’s Eleven,’ where I could hang out with a bunch of really good-looking people in great clothes in Vegas just having a great time,” he said.
“American Crime,” Ridley’s new series on ABC, has rendered him something of an expert on the subject. At the series’ premiere at Downtown Los Angeles’ Ace Hotel Saturday night, the rest of the show’s cast and crew had their own ideas about the crimes they would have the most fun committing.
“Sloth,” said Felicity Huffman without batting an eyelash, referring to her favorite of the seven deadly sins.
“Smuggling,” said actress Caitlin Gerard.
“Skinny dipping after hours,” said actress Penelope Ann Miller.
Michael MacDonald, executive producer on the show, saw himself as more of an accomplice than a true criminal. “I wouldn’t want to go in the bank, I would just want to drive the getaway car. I think that would be the best part — just waiting with the tension building.”
The show’s male lead, Timothy Hutton, had a nobler slant to his crime daydreams, saying he would want to do something “that benefited people that were somehow ripped off in some way, like Robin Hood.”
Criminal fantasies aside, the cast was unanimous in their admiration of Ridley’s work.
Huffman said Ridley’s script was what motivated her to join the project. “I felt that John had written characters that could not be written off because they were two-dimensional,” Huffman said.
Ridley himself was grateful that ABC provided a home for his vision. “ABC chooses to be a home for this kind of storytelling,” he said. “You look at what they’re doing on Thursday nights with the shows that Shonda Rhimes is doing, and ‘Blackish,’ ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ and ‘Cristela.’ This is a company that has really made a commitment not just to entertaining people, but entertaining people with programs that reflect who we are now and the world that we live in.”