Homeless people get a bad rap. They don’t get taken seriously, they get forced out of their encampments, and people judge them all day long.
Not on East New York Season 1 Episode 6.
When a little boy disappeared from a homeless encampment, Regina didn’t allow the case to get cold for a second. She treated Isaac’s disappearance with the urgency it deserved.
The story felt like a real missing persons case. The police did their best to get leads and question suspects, only to get no closer to finding Isaac than they were when they started.
I can’t imagine the terror Isaac’s parents must have experienced as one suspect after another turned out to have an alibi. The clock was ticking, and the fears that Sandeford told Bentley not to express aloud must have been at the back of their minds.
The idea of Isaac being at the mercy of a pedophile or sex trafficker was bad enough; when you’re a parent whose kid is missing, you have to wonder if you’ll ever see them alive again.
Sandeford: Where’s the kid, Lloyd?
Lloyd: I don’t know.
Sandeford: Then why did you run?
Lloyd: Because I used to do things. I don’t do them anymore.
Sandeford: What kind of things?
Lloyd: The kind of things I’m afraid someone’s doing to Isaac.
Often, when police notify a parent that a missing child has been found, their joy turns to heartbreak when they learn that the officers meant they discovered their kid’s body.
No one talked about it, but everyone must have been as afraid of that as they were of other fates that might have befallen the missing child. The cops were doing everything they could to find Isaac alive and unharmed, but there was no way they could promise they would.
Yenko’s ability to connect with Henry was a pleasant surprise that helped move this story along.
This was a different, more serious role for this character. Richard Kind does comedy and drama equally well, but Yenko has been used mainly for comic relief until now.
His empathy and rapport with Henry were a heartwarming change from his usual silly stories.
He’s going about this all wrong. This is not how you communicate with a kid on the spectrum.
I’d like to know where Yenko learned so much about Autistic kids.
He was patient with Henry but refocused Henry’s attention whenever his Autism led him too far afield. As a result, Henry relaxed enough to tell him where he’d last seen Isaac, tell the crew about the “motorman,” and show the cops his camera roll.
Yenko’s ability to reach Henry might have helped save Isaac’s life.
Killian didn’t appreciate Yenko taking over the case at first, but too bad. They needed answers, and Killian wasn’t asking the right questions, nor was he asking them the right way.
Fortunately, Regina shut that pettiness down quickly. Finding Isaac was too important for the cops to get caught up in arguments over who would take the lead.
Although the police forcing the homeless people out of their encampments was only a prelude to the main story, East New York never lost sight of how inhumane this treatment was or the inappropriate ways society treats homeless people in general.
Their encampment was the closest thing they had to a home, and as Chester pointed out, they’re constantly being moved to somewhere else when there’s no real place to put them.
The construction workers were building more homes on the site, but would those homes be affordable for those living in the encampment?
Ronald might not have had the opportunity to kidnap Isaac if it weren’t for the chaos of the move, either. Everyone was rushing around, trying to get their stuff packed so they could move on.
In that kind of situation, it could have been hours before anyone noticed Isaac was missing, and the police might have been justified in assuming he ran away because he was upset about having to move.
Although Regina deserves credit for her hard work to reunite Isaac with his parents, the cops wouldn’t have been able to find him without Chester’s help.
Chester was the most outspoken of all the homeless people, and it took a lot for him to trust the cops, especially after they accused him of having something to do with Isaac’s disappearance.
Just because we don’t have a place to live doesn’t mean we’re delusional or insane, you know.
But when he finally came forward, he provided Killian with a major clue that, together with Henry’s statements about the motorman, gave the police an idea of who they were looking for.
The celebration of Isaac’s return reinforced what these scenes showed: although the homeless people had no real place to stay, they were a community that looked out for one another. Everyone in the encampment knew and loved Isaac, and he had a special relationship with Henry.
We don’t know what Ronald did to Isaac besides hiding him in a cabinet. Still, Isaac will have the support of his community as he works through any trauma associated with what happened to him.
East New York managed to squeeze two subplots in despite the urgency of the main story.
We finally got a bigger story for Jimmy Smits!
As soon as Chief Suarez pushed that girl off of him and yelled at all the people with cell phones to call 911, I knew he was going to get into trouble, and sure enough, a truncated video showed up on Twitter, making it look like Suarez attacked a citizen for no reason.
His career aspirations, as well as his job itself, were on the line. If Sharpe hadn’t come through for him, he could have been in serious trouble.
For once, Sharpe was helpful instead of being in the way of progress, demonstrating Suarez’s point about the importance of building relationships with people in power.
As for Brandy, her storyline gave us more insight into her background.
The defense attorney’s line of questioning was on the ridiculous side, and half the reason the judge allowed it was that Brandy lost her temper while he was deliberating.
That could have seriously hurt the case. Although the judge told the jury to disregard Brandy’s outburst, they can’t forget it happened; that could have made them believe she was overly emotional and jumped to conclusions about the suspect’s guilt.
Thankfully, she redeemed herself after her talk with Morales. The defense attorney could no longer shake her, and she came across as confident in her competence. Go, Brandy!
We’d like to hear your thoughts, East New York fanatics. Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you liked and didn’t like about East New York Season 1 Episode 6.
Don’t forget you can watch East New York online.
East New York airs on CBS on Sundays at 9 PM EST / PST.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.