For three seasons, John Ridley’s “American Crime” explored tough and timely issues with a raw and adventurous approach rare on broadcast television. The first season dealt with racial tensions, the second with sexual assault and gender identity, and the third and final season tackled the exploitation of undocumented migrant farm workers.
Felicity Huffman has been one of the stars of “American Crime” for all three seasons. She played the mother whose son has been killed in a home invasion (for which she was nominated for an Emmy), the embattled principal of a private school and, in Season 3, the wife in a family that owns a farm where more than a dozen undocumented workers were killed in a fire.
As the synopses suggest, Ridley’s limited series is a dark, somber piece of work, and according to Huffman, that carries over to the working environment. “It’s a really serious set, and it needs to be a serious set,” she told TheWrap. “And I tend to not be social, just because I have to concentrate.”
Still, she added, “it’s so fun getting to act great writing. Sometimes … you can feel the magic of the scenes start to happen, and it lifts you. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t — but when it does, it’s a wonderful feeling.”
Huffman, who has also appeared on “Desperate Housewives” (for which she won an Emmy and three SAG Awards) and in the film “Transamerica” (for which she won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Oscar), said she’ll miss “American Crime,” which ABC opted not to renew for a fourth season.
But she’s proud of the work Ridley and his ensemble — which also included Timothy Hutton, Regina King and Richard Cabral — were able to accomplish while they were on the air.
“Every episode was challenging,” she said, struggling to remember a particularly tough scene from this season. “From the first episode, where basically you just see [my character] eating pie at the table, to that last scene with Janel Moloney [who plays the sister of Huffman’s character], where she says, ‘Don’t you have any sympathy?’ and I say, ‘Fresh out,’ every episode had its hard things.”