The TVLine Performer of the Week: When They See Us' Jharrel Jerome

TVLine | 6/8/2019 | Team TVLine
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THE PERFORMANCE | Netflix’s take on the infamous “Central Park Five” case is heartbreaking and, at times, uncomfortable to watch. The miniseries, anchored by a solid cast, is full of stellar performances — but the fourth and final episode put a spotlight on Jerome’s triumphant performance as both teenage and adult Korey Wise.

Korey was the only member of the Central Park Five who was sent to an adult prison instead of a juvenile detention facility, and Jerome played him over the course of 12 years as he transitioned from freedom to incarceration, exhibiting the raw emotion of a boy who loses his childhood to the system. In the courtroom scene, there was a fire in Jerome’s eyes as Korey angrily charged at the prosecutor, calling her a liar. Once in Rikers, he was equal parts shocked, scared and clueless, feelings that Jerome conveyed with wide eyes, a quivering voice, and tense body language.

Korey - Confinement - Jerome - Extent - Loss

While Korey was in solitary confinement, Jerome dug even deeper to highlight the full extent of his loss: of his freedom; of his innocence; of his sister Marci, who was killed; and, at times, of his sanity. He tried to make peace with his past and quiet the voices in his head, while being locked in a cell with little human contact. His interaction with a compassionate guard gave him a glimmer of hope, but over time, he even lost that, believing he’d never get parole. When he got the call from his mother telling him he was getting out of prison, Jerome’s pained expression showed that Korey was still in disbelief.

Jerome had the depth and range to carry the final episode from its somber beginning to its uplifting conclusion, and his breakthrough performance did that through the power of Korey Wise’s story — and the power of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TVLine
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