Cord Jefferson, a writer on HBO’s Watchmen, does not subscribe to the idea that the show promotes police work. The lauded drama series was adapted from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ 1987 graphic novel of the same name. It revolves around Regina King’s role as Angela Abar, otherwise known in her community as “Sister Knight,” the vigilante detective who works with a futuristic Tulsa Police Department that requires its cops to hide their identities behind masks. The limited series operates on two interwoven timelines: one that recounts the events of the racially charged 1921 Tulsa Massacre and another that tracks Abar’s investigations into a white supremacist group called the Seventh Kavalry.
Although the show premiered in the fall of 2019, many of its major themes—such as racism and police work in America—feel especially pertinent right now. In light of the current unrest and racial reckonings unfolding across the country after a Minneapolis police officer murdered an African American man named George Floyd, Rolling Stone Magazine sat down with Jefferson to revitalize the discussion around a series that, in today’s world, feels eerily prophetic.
In a recent interview, Jefferson revealed to Rolling Stone that he does not think that Watchmen caters to police propaganda. In fact, Jefferson expressed shock over one Twitter user’s blatantly reference to the show as pro-cop. “If you only watched the pilot, you might [think that],” he explained. “But I don’t think there’s any way you watch Episode Six of that show and go, ‘That show is pro-cop.’”
Here, Jefferson is referring to “The Extraordinary Being.” The sixth episode’s storyline follows Abar as she travels back in time to relive the racism that her grandfather faced as one of the first black officers in the New York police force, ultimately leading to his turn as the vigilante Hooded Justice. The show’s creator, Damon Lindelof, also recently touched on this episode in an interview and revealed that he wanted the effect of Tulsa on Hooded Justice to mirror the effect of Krypton’s destruction on Superman—an inciting incident that leaves the hero orphaned and implodes the world he once thought he knew.
Taking this into consideration, Jefferson offers a sound argument against those who consider Watchmen pro-cop. Though he admits that the audience is made to root for and sympathize with the police force in early scenes, by the middle of the nine-episode season, Lindelof, Jefferson, and their fellow show writers flip the narrative on its head. They make the viewer question their beliefs and allegiances to the policemen and the world they once thought that they knew.
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Source: Rolling Stone