‘When They Sue Us’: Ava and Netflix Get Served Over TV Miniseries

‘When They Sue Us’: Ava and Netflix Get Served Over TV Miniseries

If you watched the 71st Emmy Awards last month, you saw “Chernobyl” win every major award it was entered for HBO. However, if you took the time to see “When They See Us,” the story about the wrongfully convicted “Central Park Five,” you know Ava Duvernay may have been snubbed for her visceral and gripping Netflix miniseries.

And now, according to this report from the New York Daily News, she’s being sued for one of her best-ever works.

The astonishing four-part miniseries tells the story about five New York teenagers — Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana Jr., Antron McCray and Korey Wise (formerly Kharey Wise) — in 1989 who were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman. Individually, they had spent anywhere from six to 13 years in prison.

Then, a serial rapist confessed to the crime. That real-life story is what brought us to this point. Technically, one grim scene in a police station, which brings us to this…

Based on a 41-page lawsuit, Ava and Netflix are accused of “defaming an interrogation system” developed by a Chicago cop-training firm, John E. Reid & Associates. They believe the Netflix drama “unfairly disparaged” the noted Reid Technique, which is used by thousands of police departments nationwide in times of intense interrogations.

Look Bad. Pay Good.


For this defamation, Reid & Associates aren’t shy about their pain, in which they demand “a disgorgement of the DuVernay defendants’ profits associated with ‘When They See Us.’”

In case you slept during law school:

Disgorgement is the act of giving up something such as the profits obtained by illegal or unethical acts on demand or by legal compulsion. Court can order wrongdoers to pay back illegal profits to prevent unjust enrichment.

Yeah, it’s all about the Benjamins. Don’t recall what on earth could create this gorging?

It was in the last episode. There’s NYPD Detective Michael Sheehan hurling all these accusations and driving false confessions of rape and murder of a Central Park jogger from the boys brought on by the “Reid Technique.”

That’s where we hear this:

“You squeezed statements out of them after 42 hours of questioning and coercing, without food, bathroom breaks, withholding parental supervision. The Reid Technique has been universally rejected. That’s truth to you,” a city official barks at Sheehan.

If you want to read about it, you can. There are nine detailed steps but, essentially, it is something you have seen on every crime TV show or movie since the 1960s. It is when an investigator tells the suspect some open-ended statement like, “We have all we need to indict you for this crime” and it’s nothing but poppycock to bring about a stress-induced confession.

She Said. He Said.

mike sheehand

That one line besmirched the integrity of the Reid Technique, if you ask the lawyers of John E. Reid. Largely because “the conduct described is not the Reid Technique.” The suit issues the difference:

…”The Reid Technique prohibits excessively long interviews, physical abuse, denial of physical needs, and promises of leniency.” 

According to a TMZ report, Reid calls out Ava Duvernay:


All images, unless otherwise noted, courtesy: Atsushi Nishijima / Netflix

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