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On Showtime: A Black Familys Trial and Tribulations

2/01/1998 7:00 PM Eastern

Blind Faith, an emotional Showtime drama set mainly in
1957-58, is on one level a look at a middle-class African-American family thrown into
disarray when the oldest son is arrested and tried for murder.

It's also a tale of three brothers: John Williams, an
attorney, and Eddie, the youngest and a jazz musician, whose way of life doesn't sit
well with the oldest brother, Charles, a respected cop and the family's patriarch.
'This badge made me part of them [whites], as close as I'm gonna get,' says
Charles, portrayed by Charles S. Dutton. But, to Eddie, played by Kadeem Hardison, his
brother 'Uncle Tommed his way onto the police force.'

Dutton and Garland Whitt, who plays the son on trial, both
deliver moving portrayals. We soon notice what the father later admits -- that Charlie is
'scared of me ... We're not close.' As for Hardison, even though he has
little to work with as Eddie, he and Dutton are light years from their Different World
and Roc series days.

But Courtney B. Vance, as John, is this drama's
standout, inside and outside of the courtroom. As his nephew's lawyer, he quickly
spots inconsistencies in the teen's re-creation of his confessed murder of a white
boy in a Bronx park. Although an eyewitness, a black woman, saw seven white boys chasing a
black boy, John can't understand why she says he wore a blue shirt when
Charlie's was red.

John obviously wants to save his nephew from the electric
chair, but it's nonetheless unsettling to see him so willing to urge both his client
and the sole eyewitness to lie on the stand.

Produced and directed by Nick Grillo and Ernest Dickerson,
respectively, from a script by Frank Military, this drama contains a couple of interesting
twists. For instance, John has the uneasy feeling that there's been a police
cover-up. Later, we learn that there indeed was a cover-up, but not the kind that we
expect.

Showtime's Blind Faith bowed Feb. 1 at 8 p.m.
(EST), and it will repeat Feb. 5 and 24.

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