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The Atlanta Season 1 Scene That Went Too Far

"Atlanta" the FX comedy from the mind of polymath Donald Glover, was the actor-turned-rapper's first return to television since he departed from the beloved sitcom "Community." The series stars Glover as Earn, a down on his luck Atlantan who becomes the manager for his cousin Alfred, a rising rap star known as Paper Boi played by Brian Tyree Henry. Alongside them are Zazie Beetz as Earn's erstwhile lover and the mother of their child, along with LaKeith Stanfield as their philosophizing stoner pal, Darius. Each of the main actors has catapulted to greater fame in the years since the show's debut in 2016, with Henry starring in Marvel's "Eternals," Beetz in "Deadpool 2," and Stanfield in "Sorry to Bother You," and their continued success has been a testament to the show's indie darling status. 

As the "Atlanta" quartet navigates the streets of the show's titular city — and Alfred's burgeoning fame — the creators have consistently found inventive ways to keep the material fresh, relevant, and shocking. Now in its third season, "Atlanta" is a surrealist version of the real world, and it can be riotously funny, deeply strange, and sometimes outright terrifying. 

From a nightclub where an invisible car loiters in the parking lot to creepy houses with even creepier residents, it's a show that can make ordinary events feel like visions from another dimension. All the way back in the very first episode, "Atlanta" displayed that weirdness on its sleeve, and Season 1 is a tour de force lineup of episodes that push the envelope with incisive social commentary. However, one scene in "Atlanta" Season 1 may have hit a bit too close to home without warning.

'The Jacket' contains a horrifying depiction of police violence

"Atlanta" Season 1 Episode 10, "The Jacket," contains a shocking scene of a man being shot by police that comes out of nowhere and seems designed to catch audiences off-guard with its violence. The episode finds Earn searching for a lost jacket the day after a wild night of partying. He does some sleuthing through their Snapchat stories of the night and figures out that he must have left it in the Uber they took when they left the club. He calls the driver, Fidel, who says he does in fact have the jacket but wants $50 to drive it over to Earn. Instead, Earn convinces Alfred to drive him to Fidel.

When they get to Fidel's street Alfred begins to feel uneasy. "Something's off, man," he says, and starts the car. Immediately, undercover police vehicles surround them. SWAT officers pour from a van pointing rifles at the trio and another officer orders them out of the car. As the three men are put against the vehicle, Fidel runs across the lawn, still wearing Earn's jacket. The police immediately open fire on him, shooting him multiple times in the back, killing him on the spot. When Fidel's distraught girlfriend comes running outside, the police hold her back and an officer tells her, "It's okay."

The scene seems to be modeled on similar police killings, such as that of Walter Scott (per The New York Times), in which people of color were shot while running away from officers. The scene is made even more upsetting by directly showing Fidel being shot and the uncaring way the police treat the situation. While the scene is an important commentary on real-world policing, it may have been distressing to witness for certain viewers who didn't know what was coming.