Next year, when Spike rebrands as Paramount Network, one of its first projects will be “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story.” The six-part documentary miniseries will look back to 2012, when the unarmed black teenager was shot by Florida neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of second-degree murder after claiming he fired in self-defense. It will also follow the outrage surrounding the shooting.
The authorized miniseries is being produced by, among others, Jay Z and the Weinstein Company, who recently bought the rights to two books, Lisa Bloom’s “Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It” and “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin” by Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. Jay Z and Weinstein are also planning to develop a scripted feature film about Martin. “This is an important American story,” Jay Z said in a statement. “We’re honored that Trayvon’s family has entrusted us to share the truth with the world.”
The miniseries announcement arrives as “real crime” continues to have a TV moment, thanks to Netflix’s “Making a Murderer,” ESPN’s “O.J.: Made in America,” HBO’s “The Jinx,” and FX’s “American Crime Story.” Why are we so drawn to these ripped-from-the-headlines stories right now? It may have something to do with the growing lack of trust in our criminal justice system by many Americans, particularly after Zimmerman’s trial and the onslaught of YouTube videos featuring police brutality. These documentaries tend to be about the flawed legal process as much as they’re about the details of the crimes themselves.Matthew Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.