East New York Season 1 Episode 21 Review: Ruskin Roulette

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If East New York had to wrap things up, this was how to do it.

East New York Season 1 Episode 21, they ended the official police business a few minutes early so that it could end with the 7-4 celebrating being together and the work they each do to make a difference in their community.

It underscored how important this series was and how huge a hole it'll leave in our hearts.

Haywood's Leadership - East New York

Throughout the hour, I was scared that Donaldson might get his way now that the series was ending. Thankfully, East New York ended on a happier note than that!

But could that man have been any more of an asshole? He claimed that Reigna was a "divisive" figure, but the only one doing any dividing was him (and his buddy Sharpe, I suppose).

At least Sharpe wanted to give Regina a promotion -- it was an effort to render her useless, but it was still nicer than trying to strip her of her command as punishment for attempting to reform the system.

I don't think I've ever loathed a TV character as much as I did Donaldson. He represents everyone who fears changing the status quo and thinks it somehow takes something away from him for others to have the same opportunities in life he does.

Regina wasn't afraid to stand up to him, and I think that's what he hated so much about her. He couldn't use protocol or respect to keep her from doing what she was doing.

To him, a tragic shooting was merely a means of achieving his political objectives. How disgusting is that?

Debi Mazur Returns - East New York Season 1 Episode 21

Donaldson lost in the end, and what he will never get is that Regina will always attract the support of the right people. Sharpe's threat to put Donaldson in as PC is mostly empty -- even if Donaldson tries to get rid of all the people who supported Regina, more will pop up.

Numbers don't lie, either. The stats showed that Regina's programs work, and now she's been tapped to implement them throughout nine other precincts. That'll make it hard to get rid of those changes even if Donaldson and Sharpe manage to get her fired someday.

Suarez: I feel as much of an obligation as you do. I just don't drape myself in moral purpose.
Regina: The only thing I drape myself in is my uniform.

The story was never about them. It was about Regina and Suarez approaching police reform from opposite ends. Suarez thought getting in with local politicians would allow him to gain the power to enact more significant reforms, but that had been leading him down the wrong path all season long.

He FINALLY took a stand. Doing the right thing lost him his bid for commissioner, at least with Sharpe at the helm, but it made him into a true leader. I was proud of him.

Moving Back In - East New York Season 1 Episode 21

I'm not sure why Sharpe was so shocked by this. Suarez told him and Donaldson that pushing Regina out would not work and that he didn't support it. Then Sharpe acted as if Suarez betrayed him at the 11th hour.

I wonder who is opposing Sharpe for mayor and whether Suarez might be more interested in courting that person since Sharpe is running around making idle threats now.

Quinlan, I don't know whether you're going to survive this. There are people in this department gunning for you just like there are people gunning for me. Don't make it easy for them.


Brandy's storyline also came full circle as the series ended. When she moved into Ruskin Gardens, she was trying too hard to be a cop living among the residents rather than a beloved neighbor, and it kept blowing up in her face.

But now, she was able to use her relationships with the residents to find out who the real killer was and advise the cops as to the layout of the projects when they went after Duane.

Put to the Test - East New York Season 1 Episode 21

Those neighbors didn't want her to move. The only one who did was her mother.

Brandy explained how proud she was of helping keep the projects safe, but I wish she'd said one other thing: they aren't nearly as dangerous as the media tells people they are.

There are shootings, robberies, and drug crimes there, but there are also neighbors looking out for each other, kids playing together, and senior citizens enjoying the sunshine. The news never reports on that, reinforcing the idea that the projects are dangerous places.

I don't know if it's racism, classism, or both that make people believe the projects are hotbeds of crime where nobody can feel safe for a second. But I believe Regina's intent in placing cops there is to help change these negative ideas.

By becoming part of the community, Brandy has learned that the people who live there are PEOPLE, not crime statistics.

A Tragic Shooting - East New York Season 1 Episode 21

The 7-4 engaged in solid police work as usual to find the actual shooter. However, I wonder what damage it will do to Thora's relationship with Brandy that Morales and Killian treated her like a suspect.

The sequence in which Bentley had to shoot to kill was well done. He suffered so much trauma after he was shot, and now he had to shoot someone else, all in slow motion to underscore how difficult this split-second decision was for him.

He also told Ingrid that he had been shot and knew how painful it was. That was a small moment demonstrating how he had transcended the initial pain and was helping others in a similar situation.

The only story left semi-open was the DOJ's investigation into Killian. Ultimately, Morales didn't follow orders and tipped Killian off while being annoyed with him for getting into this mess.

Regina vs. Politics - East New York Season 1 Episode 21

Killian didn't get on that plane, but if another network does pick up East New York, his and Morales' choices could come back to haunt them.

If the series had to end, though, the toasts Regina and Yenko made, and the various conversations at the bar were the best way to do it.

Regina: I'm sorry, John [that Sharpe won't consider him for PC].
Suarez: It's okay. I've made my peace with it. I'll stay right here and keep doing what we do.
Regina: As long as they let us.

As we faded to black, the team was enjoying each other's company, celebrating the difference they made, and relaxing before another day of working at the 7-4.

Yenko was not the only one crying, and I'm sure I wasn't either.

Over to you one last time, East New  York fanatics.

Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know how you felt about the finale.

The series is over now, but you can watch East New York online whenever you'd like.

Ruskin Roulette Review

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Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on X.

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East New York Season 1 Episode 21 Quotes

Thora: I think he was staying away from all that.
Killian: Do you believe that?
Regina: Til we have someone in handcuffs, I don't believe anybody.

Donaldson wants to be commissioner so bad he can taste it. He's going to make your officer wrong for going against housing regulations. He's going to make you wrong for putting cops in the housing projects. And he's going to make me wrong for allowing it.