Treme,' Season 1, Episode 3

"Treme" finds its voice when targeting law enforcement abuses.

On “Treme’s” third episode, a subplot involving Ladonna (Khandi Alexander) evokes television’s previous great TV series about New Orleans. While trying to find her brother, lost in the New Orleans penal system, Ladonna reluctantly contacts her brother-in-law, a civil judge. Ladonna alludes to friction with her in-laws that seems to extend to the judge’s secretary, who cops major attitude with Ladonna when she pays a visit. Ladonna informs her lawyer Toni (Melissa Leo) that her husband’s Creole kin bear deep-seated prejudices against darker-skinned African-Americans.

One of the best episodes of the short-lived dramedy “Frank’s Place” put a comedic spin on the same theme. Frank Parrish (Tim Reid), an Ivy League college professor, inherits the French Quarter restaurant-bar of his estranged father. On “Frank Joins a Club,” he finds himself under consideration for membership from a snobby men’s club, which he eventually learns has a history of admitting only light-skinned Creoles. A well-meaning member tried recruit dark-skinned Frank, who replied that, after a lifetime of being the “only black” in this class room or that faculty, he wasn’t about to be the “only black” in an all-black club.