"Rectify" is one of those classy shows that have drawn big praise and (so far) small audiences. It's worth catching, epecially with the season-finale Thursday (Aug. `13). Here's the story I sent to papers:
By Mike Hughes
LOS ANGELES -- When
Aden Young steps into his “Rectify” role, there's an instant
The voice slows, the
face stiffens, the emotional mask seems to settle in. He becomes
Daniel Holden, who spent 19 years in prison for a murder he may not
“He's a product of
Hell,” Young said. “What he brings is incredible darkness.”
In other roles,
Young is capable of saying many words, some quite florid. He even did
Blanchett) in his native Australia.
requires something ... well, less. He plays a man who spent decades
suppressing emotions “in order to survive. (But) we've seen him let
the (rage) out of the box a few times.”
The show –
wrapping its short second season Thursday – has won a prestigious
Peabody Award, while depicting a damaged man who's seen lives
crumble. “He doesn't recognize the damage he's done to the people
around him,” said Ray McKinnon, the show's creator.
Especially to his
sister Amantha, the one person who believed in him comepletely. “She
is a product of Hell as well,” said Abigail Spencer, who plays her.
beautiful, Amantha could have gone somewhere else and started a new
life. Instead, she stayed in this little Georgia town and worked for
her brother's release. Still, she – and viewers – have never had
proof he's innocent; he reluctantly signed a confession, in a plea
bargain that averted a new trial. “She's starting to wonder, 'Why
did I spend the last 20 years on this,'” Spencer said.
McKinnon, 57, has
been busier as an actor – Rev. Smith in “Deadwood,” Lincoln
Potter in “Sons of Anarchy,” etc. -- than as a writer. But he's
kept trying scripts, he said, and became intrigued by the tidea of
wrongfully convicted men, set free. “All of a sudden, you have
these lost years to deal with.”
He added extra
layers: Daniel's case still wasn't resolved; he returned to a town –
a little like McKinnon's own home town of Adel, Ga. -- where most
people assume he's guilty.
In real life,
McKinnon has known tragedy, with the death (unexpected, linked to a
medical condition) of his wife, actress Lisa Blount.
Young witnessed a
slowly evolving tragedy: When he was 9, his family moved from Canada
to Australia, where his dad – Chip Young, once a well-known CBC
broadcaster – spent years with a lupus-like ailment. “For a man
who was so vibrant to have a debilitating disease is very difficult,”
he said, yet there was also an upbeat presence: Much later, Young
even directed an eight-moinute short film based on a children's book
his dad wrote.
Spencer seems to have had a childhood as breezy as the name of her
home town suggests. In Gulf Breeze, Fla., her dad was the area's
“It was a
beautiful place,” she said. “We went to the beach every day ....
We lived a minute away.”
acting career came quickly, She was still a teen-ager when she played
Becca in the soap “All My Children.” Plenty of TV roles followed,
some in major projects; she's played Jon Hamm's mistress (in the
third season of “Mad Men”) and Colin Farrell's ex-wife (in the
current “True Detective”).
the same time, she's Amantha, in a cloud of pain. “She smokes a
lot,” Spencer said.
also feels deep despair. It's an emotion “Rectify” visits often
“Rectify” season-finale, 10 p.m. Thursday, Sundance; rerunning at
Many more reruns, always at odd times: 4:20 a.m. Friday, 5:20 a.m.
Saturday; 4:15 a.m., 6 a.m. and 11:50 p.m. Monday (Aug. 17) and 3:30
a.m. Wednesday (Aug. 19).