Despite its 1980s setting, the specter of current politics hangs over Netflix's Central Park Five miniseries "When They See Us."?

                        Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie? Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.

                        "They need to keep that bigot off TV, that's what they need to do," mother Sharon Salaam (Aunjanue Ellis) says while watching an?interview with future president Donald Trump, in which he tells NBC's Bryant Gumbel that he would "love to be a well-educated black."?

                        "Don't worry about it," her friend responds. "His 15 minutes (are) almost up."?

                        It's an eerily prescient exchange that's sure to spark conversation?among viewers of Ava DuVernay's new four-part drama, streaming Friday, which follows a group of?black and Hispanic?teenagers who were convicted (and later exonerated)?in connection with the 1989 rape of jogger?Trisha Meili, a 28-year-old white investment banker.?

                        At the time of the brutal assault, Trump was a high-powered New York real-estate mogul adamant about cracking down on crime. Although no DNA evidence connected the boys, aged 14 to 16, to the attack, that didn't stop Trump from spending $85,000 on full-page ads in four city newspapers, calling for their executions.?

                        "BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE,” read the alarming ads, which Trump accompanied with a first-person article.?"I want to hate these murderers and I always will. I am not looking to psychoanalyze or understand them, I am looking to punish them."?

                        The papers, along with news footage of Trump, are?shown throughout the second episode of "When They See Us," although DuVernay made a deliberate choice to keep his presence to a minimum.?

                        "It was a big question for me going into it," she says. "There's a world in?which I actually cast an actor to be (Trump) and get into that piece of it, but this story is about the accused boys who became exonerated men. So the decision was to just have him in as needed and to let him?speak for himself through clips, which we use very judiciously.?I found that whatever he had to say wasn't as?fascinating or interesting to me as what the men had to say."

                        The boys –?Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise?– were cleared as adults in 2002 after convicted murder Matias Reyes confessed to raping Meili, which was confirmed by DNA evidence. The city awarded the men $41 million in 2014 but Trump continued to insist they were guilty, and called the settlement "a disgrace" in an op-ed for the New York Daily News.?

                        Given Trump's history of racist remarks, DuVernay isn't surprised that people have forgotten –?or have chosen to overlook –?his overzealous involvement in the Central Park Five case.

                        "There's unfortunately not much that shocks me anymore when it has to do with him, and I think that's why I didn't use it for shock value at all in the (series)," DuVernay says. "It's just a matter of fact of all of our lives at this point, and we have to move on from there and stop feigning horror at the things that are being said and done in his name and by him."?

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