Anger, fear, and bigotry in a changing neighborhood
The episode starts with a older boy and an elderly man arguing in a candy store; then the boy viciously stabs the man to death. The boy, Angelo Lopez is a 15 year old Puerto Rican gang member of the Saints but is also a participant in one of the programs sponsored by the Community Welfare Services. As the police are arresting Angelo, his mother's parting words are "I hope they kill you." Before the indictment hearing, the judge asks Social Worker Neil Brock to look into the matter before he makes a judgment as to whether or not the boy is to be tried in Family Court or to be tried as an adult. The stakes are huge for if he is tried in Family Court he will go to an institution where he will be released when he is 21; if he's tried as an adult, he could get the death penalty. Brock finds that the neighborhood where the boy is living is a neighborhood in transition. Traditionally an Italian neighborhood, it is now becoming increasingly Puerto Rican. The Italians hate the Puerto Ricans and the Puerto Ricans hate the Italians. Brock has a difficult time getting Angelo to cooperate. At one point Angelo lashes out at Brock telling him that "I killed that wop," and spits on Brock. With the exception of the local priest, the community including the police investigator are convinced that the boy is thoroughly bad and will kill again. In Brock's view he can be rehabilitated. As to be expected in this series, the story is grim and sad but also thought provoking. At the end, Angelo is to be tried in Family Court but we are not completely sure that Angelo will be able to turn his life around.
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