Corinne Brinkerhoff worked her way through the television production process, producing and writing on shows like The Good Wife and Elementary, before creating her own series, American Gothic, in 2016. Filled with intrigue, family drama, and political machinations, the show lasted one season (thirteen episodes) on CBS, asking primarily two questions: who is the Silver Bells Killer, and who is the SBK’s accomplice?
Dotted with well-known actors young and old, the show developed a family psyche, while showing the cracks in the family system – which may or may not be psychotic. Patriarch and matriarch, Mitch and Madeline Hawthorne (Jamey Sheridan and Virginia Madsen) are deeply involved in the lives of their family, and have potential ties to the Silver Bells Killer, who murdered a series of well-to-do Bostonians several years prior.
While the show explored family dynamics, its ultimate exploration was unpacking the power plays and social interactions surrounding people who broker power. How does money impact a person’s psyche, not just providing for their needs but also setting them in a social circle outside of everyone else? Is that a positive? Is it manipulated? Circling the SBK mystery, the parable of the Hawthorne family is certainly a warning, even if it only had a thirteen-episode shelf life.