Internal conflicts in the prosecutor’s offices also surface. Krasner identifies key areas to rectify the system: cash bail, overcrowding of minors in dangerous placement centers and the presence of dirty cops as witnesses. Each charge does not just cause discord. They demonstrate the office’s growing challenges with regard to governance. The statement behind the cashless bail policy – a significant change that allows impoverished suspects not to languish in jail – is completely overhauled hours before the press conference that announced it. Meetings get heated in the AD juvenile unit as Lisa Harvey, a holdover from the previous administration, and Bob Listenbee, the new first deputy district attorney, fervently debate how to reduce the population quickly juvenile prison. And after the DA uncovers a secret list of police officers deemed too unreliable to testify, officers accused of lying, theft and sexual harassment against them, the already suspicious police force is withholding necessary information from Krasner.
At its best, “Philly DA” shows the myriad of problematic movements systems take to isolate themselves from real improvement. It also traces the root of these entrenched problematic practices, particularly how police policy still stems from the city’s racist former mayor – Frank Rizzo – and the language used by law enforcement (in a scene, an officer makes a Freudian mistake by calling the police “chase”).
Unfortunately, “Philly DA” is too big a series to fully balance the competing tensions. By the third episode, when Krasner is faced with a difficult decision between maintaining his personal desire to never prosecute the death penalty and murdering a cop, he clearly looks more worn out. Through the first three episodes, the creators don’t inspect his mental wear. And with the exception of the mother in episode two who watches her son’s murderers break free after the police tampered with the evidence, ordinary people are also missing in the show’s political arena. Other AD employees, especially new hires, are also unexplored beyond their reformist beliefs. Who are these people outside the office? Does their job affect them at home?
In his first full staff meeting before the Snow Day massacre, Krasner explains to the assembled workers his contempt for ego-driven politics, people who have done things strictly for their own benefit and for their careers. . With an election looming later this year, one can’t help but catch some sort of ego-driven scent in this documentary series. Although Krasner advocates transparency, further inquiries into the transparency of this documentary are needed. We see closed doors and hear sound without accompanying footage when cameras are not allowed. Of course, our government is not an open book. Some subjects are confidential. Even so, given the surface examination of the people at the heart of this show instead of a deeper and more truthful understanding of this workplace, we feel like more than a few barriers were erected during the filming. Politics make cynics of us all. Perhaps “Philly DA” is not purely a good advertising machine intended to increase the number of polls before an election. But we would be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn’t ask why.
Three episodes reviewed for review.