Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil

The Prodigal Son Returns: ‘Rectify’

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Aden Young in ‘Rectify’.

I am intoxicated by ‘Rectify’, the Sundance Channel’s original series (also streaming on Netflix).  I am dumbfounded, slightly dazed and catatonic from the spell it has me under. Why did it take me so long to watch this remarkable drama?

Hauntingly portrayed by Aden Young, Daniel Holden is the center of this story. Sprung from prison after spending almost 20 years on death row, he returns to a family that has moved on, a world that has changed, and a town that will never forget the murder and rape of a young girl for which he was convicted.

Also in the mix is his sister Amantha, who was twelve years old when her brother went to prison and spent her entire adulthood fighting to get him out. (Amantha is played with force and conviction by the stunning Abigail Spencer.)

The plight of Daniel is biblical, mythological and ingrained with spiritual philosophy. His given name “Daniel” is not an accident. Translated from Hebrew, Daniel means “God will be my judge.” In viewing him walk through a reign of stones cast his way, one imagines the sins of others exposed and swirling around Daniel’s turbulent yet seemingly calm orbit. He’s the Prodigal Son returning home to those who want him locked back up – especially a jealous step-brother who has lost everything (his wife, his business, his big brother status, his dignity) since Daniel came home.

There is so much more to this show I’d rather not get into since it could hinge on spoiler territory. There is still an investigation of his innocence conducted by an ambitious and sleazy state senator that may put him back in prison, plus a host of other complications caused by those involved with the case. Besides, I still have season three, which just ended last week, to get through.

Ray McKinnon is the creator of this remarkable work. This unique storytelling is food for the writer and actor. This morning, I researched some press behind the show, and came upon this terrific quote, so in tune with my own personal writing project – my own story burning a hole in my pocket.

When asked how he was able to sell a slow moving, somber show to a network, McKinnon replied:

“… usually if a person has a hunger or desire to tell a story, that also means that they have a desire to see a story like that. You have to think that you’re not the only person in the world that is thinking that way, and if you are, then you’re really in a lot of trouble. So other people were attracted to it and had a hunger for this kind of storytelling, and it’s certainly not a lot of people, but I’m gratified for the ones that do have hunger for it.

The music selected for “Rectify” is also gorgeous. Bon Iver’s ‘Flume’ and Mazzy Star’s “Into Dust” float by along with so many others. Cracker’s “Low” brought me back to some old memories. They all hit you in the gut.

Yet, the quote above is music to my writer’s heart. I’m going to live in this quote for a while.


Author: Debi Rotmil

I'm Debi Rotmil. I'm the author of the book "Hitting Water: A Book of Stories" and founder of The Good Write. I work in finance, write, eat, walk the dog, write, blog, jog, spin. I work everyday to try and change the world in my own way.

One thought on “The Prodigal Son Returns: ‘Rectify’

  1. Thanks for the reminder about this show. We enjoyed Season One last year and it fell off our radar this year. Time to catch up with the series. Ω

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