Remote Controlled: John Ridley, Felicity Huffman and Regina King Talk Challenging ‘American Crime’ Season 3

Welcome to Remote Controlled, Variety’s podcast series featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

This week’s episode features Variety‘s executive editor of television Debra Birnbaum in conversation with creator and stars of “American Crime,” now in its third season. Executive producer John Ridley calls the opportunity to return for another outing “very special.”

This season, he says he set out to address subjects that impact all of us — himself included. “If that first season we dealt with murder, which I hope most people will never experience, and sexual assault in the second season, which unfortunately so many people are visited with, but are underreported and under-adjudicated. Was there a set of circumstances or notionally a crime where the complicity fell a little bit more broadly?” says Ridley.

“What we wanted to explore in this season was not just how does it affects us, but how we affect other people? How do those of us who benefit from a system, what does that cost other individuals for the lifestyle that someone like us lives?”

The issues that he’s tackling this season include reproductive rights, sex trafficking, and immigration, which make it feel very timely, given the headlines we face every day. But Ridley says it didn’t matter to him who was in the Oval Office. “Almost every president has been an antidote to the last president,” he says. “It seems like we are going through so much, and yet we have been through moments like this. Immigration is still an issue. Race is still an issue. Orientation is still an issue. And those are things that should not still be issues.”

Ridley praises his ensemble cast, including Regina King and Felicity Huffman, who’ve returned with each season in different roles. “Now there’s a real partnership,” he says, adding that they weigh in on what they can do differently to distinguish their characters from season to season. “That’s a level of commitment that the actors have.”

This season, Huffman plays Jeanette Hesby, who married into a family who owns five farms. She learns that there’s forced labor and immigrants working on the family’s farms, and while she wants to do something about it, “she soon realizes she can’t exist without her family and that she’s ultimately as helpless as the immigrants,” says Huffman.

King portrays Kamara Walters, a social worker who deals with underage kids who are victims of sex trafficking. “She’s trying to fight for them, and give them a voice,” says King, “but within that she’s trying to start a family of her own — and none of it is easy.”

For the actors, each season has been a learning experience of their own in improving their acting skills.

“I’ve learned that every season (John) prods me or inspires me to up my game,” says Huffman. “I thought I was playing my A game. And he goes, ‘Not yet.'”

Echoes King, “He does make you want to be better.”

You can listen to this week’s episode here:

New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Apple TV Plus

    Apple TV Plus Will Cost $9.99 per Month, to Launch in November (Report)

    Apple is reportedly looking to launch the Apple TV Plus subscription-video service in November — around when Disney Plus is set to debut — for $9.99 per month. Apple TV Plus will bow in November with a “small selection” of shows, Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous sources. At $9.99, which analysts have guessed would be the [...]

  • RuPaul Charles - Outstanding Reality -

    RuPaul Charles to Receive Variety's Vanguard Award at Mipcom

    “RuPaul’s Drag Race” leader RuPaul Charles has been tapped to receive the Variety Vanguard Award at the Mipcom international TV sales conference, set for Oct. 14-17 in Cannes. The award recognizes television industry leaders who have made a significant contribution to the global business of entertainment. Charles has hosted and executive produced the VH1 franchise “RuPaul’s Drag [...]

  • The Tempest review all female

    Harriet Walter Joins 'Killing Eve' as Third Season Begins Production

    British actress Harriet Walter has joined the cast of BBC America’s multi-award winning “Killing Eve” for its third season, which began production this week. Danny Sapani has also been announced to join the cast of the show, which stars Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer. The Olivier Award-winning and Tony-nominated Walter recently finished production on Julian [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer for Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician' (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix has drops the first trailer for “The Politician,” and “Killing Eve” adds two to its cast for season 3.  CASTING Harriet Walter and Danny Sapani, both alums of “The Crown,” are set to join the cast of “Killing Eve” for its third season. British writer Suzanne Heathcote, whose past credits include [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Earns 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Nominations

    Variety has received 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie award nominations for its coverage of the entertainment industry over the past year. The awards gala, which will take place at The Hilton Midtown in New York City on Oct. 30, celebrates publications that have demonstrated impressive investigative journalism, in addition to thoughtful digital and print design. [...]

  • Disneyland

    Disney Shares Slip Amid Reported Whistleblower Allegations of Inflated Revenue

    Sandra Kuba, a former senior financial analyst for Disney’s revenue operations unit, says she has filed a series of whistleblower tips with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging that the entertainment conglomerate repeatedly and systematically overstated its revenue for years, according to a MarketWatch report, by as much as $6 billion in a single [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content