Follow Genre: Drama, Thriller
Distributor: Just Entertainment
Episodes: 6
Duration: 50 min (per episode)

Rectify: Season 1 (DVD) – Series Review

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Good: Good acting, excellent atmosphere, interesting show
Bad: Lack of plot might be annoying
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What would happen to you if you were sent to jail for a horrendous crime that you didn’t commit? How long would it take you to give up hope and become completely detached from society? What would you do, when after you’ve given up, somebody suddenly decides that, hey, you were innocent after all and sets you free. Rectify is a series that covers all that and does it in a wonderful manner.  rectifyRectify follows around Daniel Holden (Aden Young). When he was 18, he got convicted for the rape and murder of his 16 year old girlfriend Hanna. Now, 19 years later, he gets released from prison due to the findings of some new DNA evidence. This new evidence is brought on by Daniel’s lawyer, Jon Stern (Luke Kirby) and his younger sister Amantha Holden (Abigail Spencer). However, not everyone is pleased with his release, as many from his hometown of Paulie, Georgia still believe that he is the culprit and that the DNA evidence is fancy big city talk.

Since he has no place of his own, his immediate family takes him in. This proves to be quite difficult since his own mother, Janet Talbot (J. Smith-Cameron) has trouble accepting his innocence and his newfound freedom. In the 19 years that he was gone, his father has died and Janet remarried to Ted Talbot Sr. (Bruce McKinnon), who has also taken over his father’s store. His son, Ted “Teddy” Talbot Jr. (Clayne Crawford) has been dreaming about taking over the store one day and is seeing it fall into pieces now that the rightful heir as returned.

rectify-2Let’s get one thing straight, while Rectify is a wonderful and interesting series, it’s also quite atypical for your present-day shows. Instead of going for full drama or action, the creators of Rectify have opted to deliver a more subdued show, where the focus lies more on character interaction and mood building, then actual plot or events. What makes it special is that this approach really works, Rectify doesn’t really have a plot or an even a streamlined goal, it just gives us information about Daniel in a slow build up. While this’ll be certainly appreciated by some folks, there will also be people that will find it boring and uneventful. Their loss really.

The acting is also pretty reserved. A lot is achieved with body language and glances, instead of large chunks of dialog. Aden Young is outstanding, placing just enough of creepiness in his portrayal that you’d still like him, while forcing you to consider the idea that he might be guilty after all. Abigail Spencer demonstrates that she is a great actress and she does an excellent job of placing the weariness of a woman who has been fighting an uphill battle for the last 19 years in Amantha. Clayne Crawford is very convincing as a sort of sly manipulator with his role of Ted Jr., but does an excellent job selling the character’s good sides as well, making him feel like not just another stereotype of the jealous stepbrother.

rectify-1While everybody’s acting is topnotch, there is one who stands above. J. Smith-Cameron, who plays Daniel’s mother, a woman that is clearly struggling with her belief that her son might be guilty and slowly accepting him back, is put to life brilliantly. She might not be the focus of the story, but whenever she gets screen time, it’s a wonderful display of acting prowess.

Then there’s the presence of the city Paulie, Georgia that has a huge influence on the show. It’s the sort of town where everybody knows each other and were there’s tons of gossip and backtalk and a general distrust for everything “big town”. In a huge city, Daniel might have come back without problems, but in this small town he is getting judged every second.

Music also plays an important role in rectify, utilizing a combination of Southern blues and ambient background music, to enhance the feeling of isolation and confusion. Add excellent camera work and the end result is a beautiful character study with a lot of philosophical moments.


Rectify is a well-made character study about a man who has lost his childhood due to an unjust imprisonment. The acting is top-notch and the use of sound and visuals are always uplifting the quality. There might not be a genuine plot, but thanks to the wonderful atmosphere and good interactions it is still a very nice viewing experience.

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  1. […] our review of the first season of Rectify, we were already very enthusiastic about the series. Now that season two is out, we were […]

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