When They See Us

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Television series
German title When They See Us
Original title When They See Us
When they see us Title.png
Country of production United States
original language English
year 2019
Participant Media
Harpo Films,
Tribeca Productions ,
length about 70 minutes
Episodes 4 in 1 season ( list )
genre drama
idea Ava DuVernay
music Kris Bowers
camera Bradford Young
cut Spencer Averick,
Terilyn A. Shropshire,
Michelle Tesoro
Initial release May 31, 2019 on Netflix

First publication in German
May 31, 2019 on Netflix

When They See Us is an American miniseries released by the video-on-demand service Netflix in 2019. It is based on the true events surrounding the rape of the then 28-year-old Trisha Meili in New York's Central Park and the related events Arrests of five innocent juvenile suspects in 1989, the "Central Park Five". The idea and the script for the series came from Ava DuVernay , who also directed all four episodes .


The series' 13- to 16-year-old protagonists, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise and Raymond Santana, are suspected of raping 28-year-old jogger Trisha Meili. The series follows the interrogations and court hearings of the five young people and the lives of their families after they were illegally convicted. The third episode of the miniseries shows the protagonists after their release from prison and the difficulties of reintegration into society.

The final episode mainly deals with the character Korey Wise, who was the only one of the accused who was not placed in a juvenile detention center and instead, at the age of 16, was sentenced like an adult. When the real rapist reveals himself towards the end of the series, the sentences of the five men who have since served their entire sentences are overturned.

Background and idea

After the then 28-year-old Trisha Meili was raped in Central Park in New York in 1989, five Latin and African American youths between the ages of 14 and 16 were found responsible for the crime after a brief search: Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson and Korey Wise, who were later called the "Central Park Five". Without legal parents or legal counsel, the young people made confessions under pressure from the officials and were convicted despite the lack of evidence.

Ava DuVernay wrote the script and the idea for the series

US President Donald Trump , who has been in office since 2016, commented on the alleged rape against PBS as follows: “You better believe that I hate the people that took this girl and raped her brutally. You better believe it. ”He had called for the death penalty for the five young people. Before the trial, Trump had advertised the reintroduction of the death penalty in New York State with full-page advertisements in the major New York daily newspapers. As a presidential candidate in 2016, he insisted on the guilt of the "Central Park Five" and considers the exoneration of the five men to be a mistake.

Linda Fairstein, the New York District Attorney, suspected the five youths from the outset and pushed prosecutors to dubious methods. In total, she had persecuted serial rapists, sex killers and sadists for 25 years and was involved in victim support. After the real perpetrator, Matias Reyes, presented himself at the beginning of the millennium, 14 years after the event, the wrongful convictions were overturned in 2002.

The documentary The Central Park Five dealt with the scandal back in 2012 . New York state came under pressure and compensated the five victims of justice in 2014 after years of civil litigation. The innocently imprisoned, now grown men, received a total of 41 million US dollars in compensation.

Ava DuVernay himself, who came up with the idea and script for the series and who directed all four episodes, made two Oscar-nominated films known, the 2016 documentary The 13th, about the abolition of slavery, and the Martin- Luther King drama Selma from 2014. The "real" five advised on the series and worked closely with the young actors they played.

Cast and dubbing

Jharrel Jerome plays in the role of Korey Wise as the only actor one of the five convicts, both as a youth and as an adult. Wise was the oldest of the five and was exposed to sometimes brutal conditions in varying prisons. The young Kevin Richardson is played by Asante Blackk , the adult by Justin Cunningham . Antron McCray is played by Caleel Harris at a young age and by Jovan Adepo as an adult . Ethan Herisse took on the role of young Yusef Salaam, who is later played by Chris Chalk . Marquis Rodriguez and Freddy Miyares play the younger and older version of Raymond Santana. Oscar nominated actress Felicity Huffman plays Linda Fairstein, the District Attorney for New York. The rape victim Trisha Meili is played by Alexandra Templer .

The synchronization of the series was in the Berliner Synchron for a dialogue book by Frank-Michael Helmke and the dialogue director of Bianca Krahl and storm Victoria created.

main actor

Role name actor Voice actor
Kevin Richardson Asante Blackk Cedric Eich
Kevin Richardson (adult) Justin Cunningham Vanya Gerick
Antron McCray Caleel Harris Philip Sweet
Antron McCray (adult) Jovan Adepo Tobias Müller
Yusef Salaam Ethan Herisse Sebastian Fitzner
Yusef Salaam (adult) Chris Chalk Fabian Heinrich
Korey Wise Jharrel Jerome Sebastian Kluckert
Raymond Santana Marquis Rodriguez David Turba
Raymond Santana (adult) Freddy Miyares Jannik Endemann
Linda McCray Marsha Stephanie Blake Schaukje Könning
Angie Richardson Kylie Bunbury Nora Kunzendorf
Sharonne Salaam Aunjanue Ellis Sabine Arnhold
Elizabeth Lederer Vera Farmiga Claudia Urbschat-Mingues
Linda Fairstein Felicity Huffman Victoria Storm
Raymond Santana Sr. John Leguizamo Florian Halm
Delores Wise Niecy Nash Almut Zydra
Bobby McCray Michael K. Williams Oliver Stritzel

supporting cast

Role name actor Voice actor
Elombe Brath Omar Dorsey Bernd Egger
Grace Cuffe Suzzanne Douglas Dana Friedrich
Peter Rivera Christopher Jackson Victor Neumann
Mickey Joseph Joshua Jackson Michael Iwannek
Nancy Ryan Famke Janssen Christin Marquitan
Nomsa Brath Adepero Oduye Anne Düe
Tanya Aurora Perrineau Vera Bunk
Lisa Storm Reid Derya Flechtner
Michael Sheehan William Sadler Klaus-Dieter Klebsch
Bobby Burns Blair Underwood Charles Rettinghaus
Robert M. Morgenthau Len Cariou Friedrich Georg Beckhaus
Colin Moore Chikwudi Iwuji Christoph Banks
Detective Gonzalez Frank Pando
Trisha Meili Alexandra Templer Cornelia Waibel
Howard Diller Allan Greenberg
Marci Wise Isis King Christian Pointer
Officer Roberts Logan Marshall-Green Jaron Lowenberg
Manuel Santana Gary Perez Matthias Klages
Elena Dascha Polanco
Matias Reyes Reece Noi Nicolas Rathod
Adelle Joaquina Kalukango Katharina Spiering

Episode list

No. German title Original title Director script
1 Part 1 Part One Ava DuVernay Ava DuVernay, Julian Breece & Robin Swicord
Idea: Ava DuVernay & Julian Breece
2 Part 2 Part Two Ava DuVernay Ava DuVernay, Julian Breece & Attica Locke
Idea: Ava DuVernay & Julian Breece
3 part 3 Part three Ava DuVernay Ava DuVernay & Robin Swicord
Idea: Ava DuVernay
4th Part 4 Part four Ava DuVernay Ava DuVernay & Michael Starrbury
Idea: Ava DuVernay
On May 31, 2019, all episodes of the season were released simultaneously on Netflix.


Reviews and viewing figures

The series was received by the majority of critics very favorably. On the Rotten Tomatoes site , she has an approval rating of 96 percent for 70 reviews. On the aggregator side Metacritic the series received a value of 87/100 and is listed in the category “universal acclaim” (in German “general recognition”).

Vanessa Schneider from Puls , the youth channel of Bayerischer Rundfunk, writes that the four episodes show the night of the crime, the brutal interrogations, the convictions in court and the reaction of the media. In addition to the time in prison, Ava DuVernay also shows many intimate moments, for example when the men try to return to a normal life after being released. When They See Us is an exhausting series, says Schneider. It is not about true crime entertainment , with which one can briefly shudder in our ideal world, the series is rather a political statement, the rehabilitation of the men who are relieved today and a battle cry for justice: "For me, When They See is Us not the best, but the most important series of the year. "

Brigitte Theiss from Standard remarks that DuVernay would not stage the story of racist prejudice and class justice as a judicial drama, but rather focus on the personal fate of the five boys whose childhood ends overnight in the mills of the US judiciary. The fact that this strategy works and When They See Us loses none of its political explosiveness is due not least to the actors, above all Jharrel Jerome . When Korey crouches soaked in sweat on the cell floor and talks to his sister in his mind, Jerome takes the audience to the limit of pain and, as in the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, makes vulnerable facets of brutal masculinity visible with a great deal of sensitivity, says Theiss.

Ethan Herisse plays Yusef Salaam in the series

Lucy Mangan of The Guardian wrote : “The performances, both young and experienced, are consistently amazing - especially those of the five central characters, Asante Blackk, Caleel Harris, Ethan Herisse, Marquis Rodriguez and Jharrel Jerome, most of whom are barely older than the youngsters they play. They capture the all-embracing innocence of children and the finality of loss. It feels like a great privilege to watch them. "

Florian Schmid from Neues Deutschland writes, When They See Us shows the functioning of a racist class judiciary, as one or the other viewer in this country has already seen in other films. But this is not a fictional story, which is also made clear by interspersed documentary snippets. According to Schmid, the miniseries underscores how fundamental the debates about racism there are, and in this way could also raise awareness of the concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement . In addition, the series shows how much racist and classicist repression mechanisms of the police and judiciary have shaped the lives of the five and destroyed their youth.

Viola Schenz from the Neue Zürcher Zeitung thinks that the series can be accused of getting sentimental at times and that the families of the five acted too morally and heroically and remarks: "The boys were probably not entirely innocent; they had two on that fateful evening Joined a dozen Harlem youths who moved to Central Park to hunt, attack, and rob joggers, cyclists, and walkers. This 'wilding' made the park a no-go zone at the time, and this aspect is featured in the series too short."

By July 17, 2019, around 25 million subscribers had seen When They See Us on Netflix.


From the American Film Institute was When They See Us included 10 of the best series in 2019 in the top. Below is a selection of other awards and nominations.

British Academy Television Awards 2020

  • Award in the Best International Program category

Camerimage 2019

Eddie Awards 2020

  • Nomination in the category Mini-Series or Motion Picture for Television ("Part 1", Terilyn A. Shropshire )

GLAAD Media Awards 2020

  • Nomination for Best Limited Series

Gotham Awards 2019

  • Award in the Breakthrough Series - Long Format category

Hollywood Music in Media Awards 2019

  • Award for Best Music Series (Kris Bowers)

NAACP Image Awards 2020

Primetime Emmy Awards 2019

The miniseries received 16 nominations at the 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards.

  • Nomination for Best Miniseries
  • Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or TV Movie (Jharrel Jerome)
  • Nomination for Best Actress - Miniseries or TV Movie (Aunjanue Ellis)
  • Nomination for Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie (Niecy Nash)
  • Nomination for Best Supporting Actor - Miniseries or TV Movie ( Asante Blackk )
  • Nomination for Best Supporting Actor - Miniseries or TV Movie ( John Leguizamo )
  • Nomination for Best Supporting Actor - Miniseries or TV Movie ( Michael K. Williams )
  • Nomination for Best Supporting Actress - Miniseries or TV Movie ( Marsha Stephanie Blake )
  • Nomination for Best Supporting Actress - Miniseries or TV Movie ( Vera Farmiga )
  • Nomination in the category Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or a Dramatic Special ( Ava DuVernay )
  • Nomination in the category Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or a Dramatic Special (Ava DuVernay and Michael Starrbury , Part Four )
  • Nomination in the category Casting for a Limited Series, Movie or Special (Aisha Coley, Billy Hopkins and Ashley Ingram)
  • Nomination in the category Cinematography for a Limited Series or Movie (Bradford Young, Part One )
  • Nomination in the Original Dramatic Score category (Kris Bowers, Part Two )
  • Nomination in the category Sound Editing for a Limited Series, Movie or Special
  • Nomination in the category Sound Mixing for a Limited Series or Movie (Joe DeAngelis, Chris Carpenter and Jan McLaughlin)

Producers Guild of America Awards 2020

  • Nomination for Best Miniseries

Screen Actors Guild Awards 2020

Society of Composers & Lyricists Awards 2020

  • Nomination in the category Original Score for a Television or Streaming Production (Kris Bowers)

World Soundtrack Awards 2019

  • Nomination for Best TV Composer of the Year (Kris Bowers)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Vanessa Schneider: "When They See Us": The most important series of the year. In: br.de, August 5, 2019.
  2. a b c d Brigitte Theiss: Jharrel Jerome in "When They See Us": From the art of survival. In: derstandard.de, July 26, 2019.
  3. a b c d e f g Viola Schenz: The series “When They See Us” on Netflix is ​​making waves in the USA. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung, July 22, 2019.
  4. ^ A b Florian Schmid: Series: "When They See Us". You must suffer. In: Neues Deutschland, August 6, 2019.
  5. ^ When They See Us. In: synchronkartei.de. German dubbing file , accessed on June 26, 2019 .
  6. Rotten Tomatoes - When They See Us , rottentomatoes.com, last accessed August 8, 2019
  7. Metacritic - When They See Us , metacritic.com, last accessed June 25, 2019
  8. When They See Us review , theguardian.com, last accessed June 25, 2019
  9. Kasey Moore: Every Viewing Statistic Netflix Has Released So Far (May 2020). In: whats-on-netflix.com, May 24, 2020.
  10. ^ Joey Nolfi: AFI top 10 raises Joker, Little Women, more in Oscar race. In: Entertainment Weekly, December 4, 2019.
  11. https://camerimage.pl/en/sklad-first-look-konkursu-pilotow-seriali-energacamerimage-2019/
  12. Carolyn Giardina: 'Ford v Ferrari,' 'The Irishman,' 'Joker' Among American Cinema Editors' Eddie Nominees. In: The Hollywood Reporter, December 11, 2019.
  13. Erik Anderson: 'Rocketman', 'Pain and Glory', 'Euphoria', 'Sex Education' among GLAAD Award nominations. In: awardswatch.com, January 8, 2020.
  14. ^ 'Marriage Story' Sweeps Gotham Awards; Full winners list. In: The Hollywood Reporter, December 2, 2019.
  15. 2019 HMMA Winners . In: hmmawards.com. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  16. Erik Anderson: 2020 NAACP Awards: Billy Porter, Lizzo, Regina King, Angela Bassett up for Entertainer of the Year. In: awardswatch.com, January 9, 2020.
  17. Michael Schneider: Producers Guild Awards Nominees Include '1917', 'Parasite', 'Succession', 'Fleabag'. In: Variety, January 7, 2020.
  18. ^ SCL Awards Nominations Announced. In: filmmusicreporter.com, December 3, 2019.
  19. 2019 World Soundtrack Awards Composer of the Year Nominations Announced. In: filmmusicreporter.com, August 12, 2019.