Netflix and Chill: Flint Town

Written by C.Diva

***a spoiler free review***

Flint Town Review: Flint Has More Going On Than Just Bad Water

Flint, Michigan has been in the news since 2014 because of the lead poisoning that happened when state officials tried to save money by siphoning water from the Flint River and then lied about it. Four years later, one of the poorest cities in America, with one of the highest crime rates, still cannot cannot use the tap water, but this 8 episode docu-series is about more than just the water crisis. Creators followed a handful of police officers over the span of two years to reveal a city in crisis, not only from the lack of clean water, but because public safety funds are at an all-time low, houses and businesses are being abandoned and the commitment to change from local government is questionable, at best.

A few days ago, my teen daughter and I were out of work/school with that nasty cold going around and when we flopped down on the couch to binge watch Netflix, we came across this and she suggested we watch it together. Now, my daughter and I have overlapping taste in television–we both enjoy Doctor Who and Riverdale, but she isn’t really into Supernatural and I cannot watch that CSI she absolutely obsesses over. We do, though, have similar political ideals and she is one smart kiddo so, we sat down and watched the first 5 episodes in a single sitting before I had to get up and do real life stuff. Later on the same day, we both finished the series and had the chance to talk about it.

The story centers around the Flint Police Department and the challenges that come with having only 98 sworn officers for a city of 100,000. The series covers a plethora of issues that come up in Flint in 2015 and 2016 through the eyes of the police officers, who range in background, aspirations and political ideals, but yet hold the office of public service in Flint to the highest caliber. At this time in history, when many of the public are wary of police officers, this series humanizes a group of people who have various reasons for becoming cops but all seem to genuinely want to help the community of Flint in the city’s time of need. The show is beautifully shot and full of poignant and honest stories of real people in real America. It is a timely reminder that the important folks don’t reside in the White House but on the forgotten avenues of America.

Should I binge it?

Why not? There are only 8 less-than-45-minute-long episodes. Just do it so we can talk about it.

Can I watch it with my kids?

Sure, if you’re kid is old enough to hear a couple F-bombs and see a dead body. Mine is 15 and loves cop dramas, so I wasn’t really worried about the content. It’s not Dexter but it’s also a little more raw that CSI MIami.

Is the show graphic?

Like I said, cops cussing, a few dead body shots, and pretty graphic scenarios in terms of real life police work. My 15yo handled it and seemed to enjoy the content and didn’t get bogged down by the cursing or occasional blood. There is a pretty heavy message on current American ideals that doesn’t get resolution in the 8 episodes, only raises more questions. I honestly considered using it with my students, but don’t have that much classroom time to devote to a single topic. The series is a learning experience and I hope Netflix continues to give us content that has the potential to teach audiences empathy on this caliber.


2 thoughts

  1. As a Flint native, I have to say, I’m glad you watched with your child (used losely for a 15 yr old). As an anthropologist, yay that she watches CSI although it’s not that glamorous. All the physical anthropologists I know would never wear their hair down with white pants to a crime scene. It’s called contaminating evidence. Forensic files is also a good one if she’s into that kind of thing.
    First, I have to make this correction to your statement. It Was Not our City officials that ordered the water switch. That is how the media is portraying it. It was entirely done at the state level by our state officials appointed by Gov. Snyder that ordered the water be switched. Our city officials did all they could to stop it because they knew the water was contaminated. The Flint River is so bad, the Army Corps of Engineers cemented a two mile stretch running through downtown to hold back the contaminants from GM in the 1930’s. The same GM plants stopped using the water within 6 months of the switch because it was corroding car parts at the plants. State officials put out a classified memo, installing water coolers in all state buildings two months later and still the people were not told. This entire water problem was because of Gov. Snyder trying to balance a budget regardless of the costs to the people.
    Flint is the home of GM and the UAW. It is a working class, blue collar city that has been in a recession for the past 30 years. We were ahead of the curve. What makes this town truly special though, it the people. Flint and its natives are a ‘ride or die’ type of people. They love where they live and where they’re from and they have no hope that anyone outside of this city cares about them. I think this show does an excellent job of portraying that loyalty. Thank you for reviewing it and bringing it to attention on your space. The people in this show are real. I have friends that grew up with the woman in your picture. Thanks for watching and spreading the word.

    1. First of all, let me say thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on this review. I appreciate someone with first hand experience in Flint reacting and helping me to understand better the situation in the city. I did make an edit regarding the city versus state officials, thank you for clearing that up for me and my readers. I really wanted to let people know that this docu-series is more than 8 hours of water crisis material–and that there is so much more going on in the city of Flint that has led to the water crisis and continues to plague the town. I really enjoyed this series and it made me look at the officers, not only in that town, but police in general, in a way I haven’t been able to in a long while. I work with students who are studying to go into law enforcement and I feel that individualizing cops and showing their motivations, hopes, and fears is so important in a time when so many of us are disillusioned by a broken criminal justice system. I still may have my own personal doubts about the system, but it is nice to see that there are still good cops out there who want to help their cities and citizens thrive, if only they had the resources.

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