Episode 1 of Black Bird starts in Chicago 1996. After a brief introduction to the Butterfly Effect (how seemingly unrelated incidents can be connected) Jimmy Keene’s life is about to be changed forever thanks to a girl on a bike and a business deal.
Meeting his contact, Rog, everything goes sour. Jimmy’s friend from first grade, and fellow drug dealer, has sold them out. He’s stolen drugs and Rog grabs a shotgun, looking to make him pay. Although Jimmy manages to talk him down and save Dany’s life, it’s the beginning of the end.
In the morning, Jimmy’s house is stormed by FBI agents who handcuff and arrest him. Jimmy has stacks of cash, illegal firearms and drugs across the table. Even worse, his prosecutor for this case wants to make an example of him.
However, if Jimmy takes the plea offering, he’ll get 2 years but because of the guns he’ll have to do the midrange – which means he’ll have to serve 5 years and be out after 4 on good behaviour. This appears to be the only solution.
Before court, Jimmy pleads guilty but unfortunately he gets 10 years, not the 5 he was hoping for. Seven months later, Jimmy is still in prison but called in to a meeting. There, he meets Special Agent Lauren McCauley accompanied by Mr Beaumont, the guy who convinced him to plead guilty in the first place.
Anyway, Lauren admires the fact Jimmy is thriving in prison. He gets along with everyone and has even set up a side-gig hustle, giving out 30 minute blocks for renting out porno mags.
With Jimmy’s charisma and skills, the officers want to put him to work. Specifically, they want Jimmy to befriend another inmate and get him to reveal the location of a dead body.
You see, the man in question has actually killed 14 women but they only know the location for 1. In order to conduct this mission, Jimmy will need to move across to a maximum security prison specializing in the criminally insane, all the way out in Missouri. If he can get the inmate to open up and reveal the location for the bodies, Jimmy is going to be granted his freedom.
We then cut back 4 years earlier. A woman named Jessica Roach is found deceased in Indiana having earlier gone missing on July 20th. This girl happens to be the one from the bike we heard about earlier in the episode. This is how she’s connected to Jimmy’s case.
The van in the middle of this whole mess happens to be owned by a guy called Lawrence D. Hall. Police are all over this, fronted by Chris Drydale and Sherriff Brian Miller who begin sniffing around and asking questions.
Now, we already know that Lawrence has been arrested but there could be doubts around whether he’s really the killer. Larry is apparently a serial confessor and apparently harmless, at least according to Chris Drydale. Brian is not so sure.
Brian heads up and meets Larry. Now, the guy is known to be involved with military re-enactments and given there was a Revolutionary Re-enactment a day before Jessica Roach’s disappearance, it’s clear that Brian is trying to connect the dots.
Larry also owns an 82′ Dodge van which he was driving around. He also had words with a couple of girls then whom he claims were “pretty rude” to him. Compounding these worries further, Larry admits that he’s been having dreams about killing women lately.
Back with Jimmy, he discusses his options with his father. Jimmy’s dad believes moving to Springfield for this operation is a death sentence, and there’s no guarantee that he’ll even be able to get the information from Larry.
Jimmy’s mum shows up in prison some time later though and informs Jimmy that his father is sick. In his current state, he doesn’t have 10 years so Jimmy is likely to take the deal.
Jimmy lets Lauren know as much, but apparently it’s not a done deal. There are other applicants they’re looking at too. Jimmy isn’t exactly happy but Lauren encourages him to “do his homework” and continue looking into the case file. And he does just that, reading through the details of the file that night.
The Episode Review
The first episode of Black Bird gets off to a decent start, introducing these two timelines as we jump back and forth between Jimmy and Brian Miller. That works reasonably well to get a feel for the case in question and it’s clear this is going to take on more of a Mindhunter edge from here on out as Jimmy works to try and get the truth from Larry.
It’s an interesting case and the show definitely has a lot of promise from its opening episode. There’s a decent pacing to all this as well and the various characters, and the idea of two seemingly unrelated incidents being drawn together, could well be a foreshadowed hint that Larry isn’t necessarily guilty of these murders.
Either way though, with two episodes releasing today, thankfully we don’t have to wait too long to find out what happens next!
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|