Rectify at the ATX Television Festival

At the recent ATX Television Festival in Austin, I had the pleasure of attending a panel for the Sundance Channel Series, Rectify. We were treated to an early screening of the  Season 2 premiere and a Q&A with producer Mark Johnson and cast member Abigail Spencer.

The show officially returns tonight and for anyone who hasn’t watched it yet, I strongly suggest you marathon Season 1 immediately (come on, it’s only 6 hours … you can do it!). Rectify is a quiet, intense, beautiful series that follows former death row inmate Daniel Holden in the days after his conviction is overturned. He’s released into the real world after 19 years of living behind bars, struggling to reconnect with his family and re-adjust to the pace and freedom of every day life. As Mark revealed during the panel, the show was conceived when creator Ray McKinnon thought about the things people say when they get out of prison. People always ask them ‘what’s the first thing you’re going to do now that you’re free’ and they usually respond with ‘eat a steak, drink a beer, or kiss my mama’. But Ray was intrigued by the idea of what happens right after that. When you’ve finished your first meal…what now?

For cast member Abigail Spencer, who plays Daniel’s devoted younger sister Amantha, Rectify is a dream project. She’s been kicking around the business for a while and she had a checklist in her mind of the type of project she wanted to work on. She was looking for something new and fresh and she wanted to serve one person’s vision instead of report to a committee of different producers and executives. In her mind, that was only possible on a cable series. Abigail learned about the Rectify script just by chance, when she overheard a co-worker on another project talking about it. She immediately called up her agents, asked to see the script, and completely fell in love with it. On the eve of a vacation to Costa Rica she pushed her agent to secure a meeting with Ray McKinnon because “I’m Amantha Holden and he doesn’t know it yet.” During the panel, Abigail spoke about all the reasons she loves her character:


Abigail also had a very strong reaction to Aden Young being cast as her brother Daniel:


Rectify has a very unique style and tackles some heavy issues in an unconventional way. The show is filmed in a small town in Georgia and Abigail said it felt like a very private experience because nobody every bothered them or hovered around them when they were creating their world. The panelists spoke about the flashbacks in the series, the relationship between the cast and the  way the show deals with guilt and innocence.


So what can we expect from Season 2?

The series picks up in the aftermath of Daniel’s horrific beating in the Season 1 finale and the panelists spoke about how the structure will change now that his surreal first week out of prison is over.


I adored the Season 2 premiere — it was raw, emotional, painful and a heaping bunch of other compelling adjectives 😉 I can’t wait to see how the story evolves from here. Will anyone else be tuning in?

Photo and Video by Jennifer Bragg. Copyright © 2014

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