The Peabody Awards

The Peabody Awards

Boston Public: “Chapter Thirty-Seven”




Boston Public: “Chapter Thirty-Seven”
 2002 | David E. Kelley Productions in association with 20th Centry Fox Television

Week after week Boston Public explores the personal and professional lives of teachers, administrators, and students who work and study at an urban high school in Boston. Following controversial and topical storylines—sometimes dramatic, sometimes comedic—the series explores problems and issues faced by teachers who try to make a difference in the lives of their students, and by students who struggle to come of age in a very complicated world. “Chapter Thirty-Seven,” the most controversial episode in the 2002 season, grapples with the historical significance of the n-word. When casual use of the word among friends triggers classroom violence, teacher Danny Hanson (Michael Rapaport) assigns his class the book of the same name, an actual analysis of the term written by Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy. With various teachers on various warpaths, Principal Steven Harper(Chi McBride) stops discussion of the book. But students are eager to discuss the issue. After deliberation, Harper reopens dialogue on the issue despite criticism from other African-American faculty and staff. The script addressing this difficult topic was co-written by John J. Sakmar & Sean Whitesell & Kerry Lenhart & David E. Kelley. David E. Kelley and Jonathan Pontell served as Executive Producers, with Mike Listo and Kerry Lenhart & John J. Sakmar as Co-Executive Producers. Producers Phil Neel, Peter Burrell and Jeremy Miller & Daniel Cohn worked with Consulting Producer Douglas Steinberg, Co-Producer Sean Whitesell, and Associate Producer Chuck Conway. The episode was directed by Mike Listo. The cast also includes Anthony Heald, Fyvush Finkel, Loretta Devine, Sharon Leal, Jeri Ryan, Joey McIntyre and Jon Abrahams. For treating an extremely volatile but crucial topic in a complex and sensitive manner, a Peabody Award goes to Boston’s Public’s “Chapter Thirty-Seven.”



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