Independent Lens: Evolution of a Criminal

About This Episode


How does a 16-year-old evolve into a bank robber? In Evolution of a Criminal, filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe searches for the answers — about himself. Years after his release from prison, Monroe returns to his old neighborhood to speak with family and friends, along with classmates, teachers, law enforcement officials and the innocent victims in the bank on the fateful day of the robbery. The film is an honest journey of reflection and a personal search for redemption.

Monroe had a happy childhood with his family but as he grew older and saw his parents struggling to make ends meet, Monroe’s vision of the world changed. Devastated after burglars robbed his family of their possessions, he stole from the store where he worked. As his parents’ finances continued to spiral downward, Monroe and two friends plotted and subsequently carried out an armed bank robbery. More than just a tale of a good kid gone wrong, Evolution of a Criminal is filled with compassion for human frailty and the knowledge that a person is not forever defined by their mistakes.