The Lure Of Sex & Drugs
When Love’s In Short Supply

As secrets continue to unfold in American Crime Episode 3, drugs, sex, and complicated family histories are increasingly implicated in the crime against Matt and Gwen. Drugs and sex are not infrequently turned to as ‘answers’ to various kinds of desperate circumstances and pasts. Gwen turned to sex. Matt turned to drugs. Aubrey Taylor (Caitlin Gerard) turns to both. What kind of escape is she desperately clinging to?  What role does calling her foster dad serve?  Does she want his help or something else?

“With this life sometimes bad things come your way. That’s when you get a little desperate,” Aubrey says. Bad things have clearly come Aubrey’s way a long time ago. And, bad things just came her way again. Carter’s in jail and she’s lost without him. Yet, even when she had Carter right there next to her, it wasn’t enough to reassure her of his love.

Love In Short Supply

When love’s been in short supply, it isn’t to be trusted. There’s desperation for love, to be sure. We see it in Aubrey in American Crime Episode 3. She can’t get enough. Yet, it’s too easily lost. She knows that without a doubt. And, she very likely blames herself: “I disappoint. That’s what I do.” So, drugs lure her away into an alternate reality: “I see a better life. That’s why I do it. When you get high, things look better.”

The better life isn’t in the regular world of day-to-day relationships, family, and work, though. Aubrey doesn’t want ‘regular.’ In regular life, there’s need. There’s loss. There’s sadness. In the world of drugs, there’s no need for real human contact. The drugs provide when a person doesn’t. That’s the fantasy, at least. And, there are no feelings. Drugs supersede fear. They say – “No worries. I’m always with you when love is not.”

The Lure of Sex & Drugs

Right now, though, Aubrey’s desperate to see Carter. Not to lose him. It’s this desperation that makes her call her foster dad. She doesn’t want change. Not on his terms. It’s unlikely she wants to clean up, to give up drugs. She wants to see Carter. She wants the life they had. She’s desperate for his love. But, she needs her drugs just as much.

This is the tragedy of trauma. The tragedy of loss that has not been grieved or processed in a way that allows feelings to be safe enough to live with and go on. As American Crime Episode 3 continues to take us deeper into the mysteries of the crime itself and the lives of each of the major players, what will we learn? What are the traumas and losses that brought their stories colliding together in an event that brings one more tragedy piled upon all of the others?


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Dr. Sandra E. Cohen

I’m Dr. Sandra Cohen, a psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA. I work with creatives in therapy, story/character development, and entertainment consulting. If you are a writer, actor, or director and want help with a character – or a chance to do some of your own personal work - call at 310.273.4827 or email me at to schedule a confidential discussion to explore working together.