Synopsis: Sundance Channel’s first wholly owned scripted series stars Aden Young as Daniel Holden, who spends nearly 20 years on death row for the rape and murder of a teenage girl, before new DNA evidence nullifies his conviction. He returns home, but he’s far from welcomed. He’s an outsider now in a town that remains divided by his alleged crime, and contributing to his uncertain future is the man who prosecuted him — riding that notoriety to become a state senator — is plotting to reopen the case. As he struggles to adapt, Daniel is comforted by support from his younger sister, Amantha, who has always believed in his innocence and has worked her entire adult life to secure his release. Not so for Ted Jr., Daniel’s stepbrother with whom he has no relationship. Insecure and manipulative, Ted is skeptical of Daniel’s motives and will do anything to protect his family.
Starring: Aden Young, Abigail Spencer, Clayne Crawford, Adelaide Clemmons
I heard about Rectify because I receive google alerts for the Serial podcast. The first two seasons are on Netflix and I watched them in two days. This show is mesmerizing.
Rectify is the story of Daniel Holden, a man who spent 20 years in prison on death row for the rape and murder of his girlfriend, Hanna. DNA evidence is brought to light which allows Daniel to leave prison and return to his hometown of Paulie, Georgia. The people of Paulie are not happy about Daniel’s return, and still believe he is the guilty party.
Daniel has a hard time coming back into society. He has been on death row, and has not seen the sun in years. He is used to being in his small cell, and we see lots of flashbacks to his time in prison during the show. During his incarceration, Daniel’s mother married Ted Talbot, and he and his son Teddy take over Daniel’s father’s tire business. Daniel’s mother and Ted also have a teenage son, named Jared. Teddy clearly hates Daniel and believes he is guilty; Teddy’s wife Tawney, however, does not.
Tawney is very kind to Daniel, and convinces him to get baptized at her church to cleanse him of his sins. Daniel and Tawney become close, which deeply bothers Teddy. Teddy is a weasel and a truly unlikable character. Tawney is deeply religious. I think Tawney has enormous guilt over her conflicted feelings about Daniel.
Daniel’s sister, Amantha, has always believed in her brother’s innocence and has spent her adult life fighting for him to be released from prison. Daniel’s new lawyer, John Stern, has a relationship with Amantha.
Then there is the town. The people in town are very upset that Daniel is back, despite the fact that he is a very nice person. The prosecutor who put Daniel in prison is now a senator and will stop at nothing to have Daniel put back there. Then there is the Sheriff. At first, he seems like a bad guy but your view will change. We also meet Trey and George, who clearly have something to do with Hanna’s murder, but we don’t know what.
The writing on this show is top notch and the show has an amazing cast. The acting is superb. If Daniel is really guilty, the way Aden Young portrays him makes you feel he is truly innocent. I’m so glad I found out about this show and would highly, highly recommend it.