Artful drama weighs redemption in the wake of rape, murder.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series acknowledges the strength of a brother-sister bond. But the central message is one of uncertainty -- Is Daniel guilty or innocent? Good or evil? Free or forever bound by suspicion? -- with the answers left up to viewers to decide.

Positive role models

Most characters make ambiguous role models thanks to hidden agendas and suppressed emotions. That said, Daniel's family -- particularly his mother, sister, younger brother, and stepsister-in-law -- are generally positive forces in his life.


The series revolves around the rape and murder of a teenage girl, but most violence is described rather than shown. In one instance, a man shoots himself in the head, and there's some blood. Unsettling descriptions of prison rape.


Simulated sexual acts (including intercourse, oral sex, and masturbation) and some shots of women in lingerie, but no sensitive parts are shown.


Terms like "son of a bitch," "hell," "cracker," etc.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some social drinking. One character smokes cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Rectify revolves around the rape and murder of a teenage girl. Although there's some blood (including a man committing suicide with a firearm), most violence is described rather than shown. In terms of sexual content, you'll see simulated sexual acts (including intercourse, oral sex, and masturbation) and brief shots of women in lingerie with no sensitive parts shown. You'll also hear gateway terms like "son of a bitch," "hell," and "cracker," along with unsettling descriptions of prison rape. One character smokes cigarettes, and several others drink socially.

Kids say

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What's the story?

After spending nearly half of his life on death row for the rape and murder of his high school girlfriend, Daniel Holden (Aden Young) wins back his freedom on a technicality with the help of new DNA evidence. But while the world he once knew is greatly changed, his rural Georgia hometown remains deeply divided over Daniel's guilt or innocence. Can he RECTIFY the past and rewrite his future?

Is it any good?


Some critics have described Rectify -- the Sundance Channel's first original scripted series, helmed by the producers of Breaking Bad -- as "riveting." But a word like that implies that Rectify is going to hook you right away, and for most viewers, that probably won't happen. One reason is the series' deliberately slow pacing (each episode covers roughly one day). Another is Australian actor Young's portrayal of the enigmatic Daniel, who at first lacks the charisma you'd expect for a series lead but eventually comes out of his shell with chilling results.

Rectify isn't a show for everyone, and it probably wouldn't make it on the major networks. But those who put in the time to get to know the complex characters -- from Daniel's strong-willed sister, Amantha (Abigail Spencer), to his seemingly saintly stepsister-in-law, Tawney (Adelaide Clemens) -- will likely find themselves committed until the bitter end.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Rectify's premise, particularly how the reaction of Daniel's hometown to his return might play out in real life. How would you interact with a person who was convicted of a violent crime but was no longer behind bars? Which is more powerful in practice: the court of law or the court of public opinion?

  • What's Rectify's take on Daniel's guilt or innocence? What other thematic contrasts help drive the show's plot?

  • Why is the Sundance Channel a good fit for a series like Rectify? How would Rectify fare on a major primetime network like ABC or CBS?

TV details

Cast:Abigail Spencer, Adelaide Clemens, Aden Young
Network:Sundance Channel
Topics:Brothers and sisters, Misfits and underdogs
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Rectify was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byGay2 September 1, 2015


This was one show I actually cried when it was over, I loved the characters so much, especially the main one. He was absolutely brilliant, no one else could have done this character better. Stellar acting by all involved and I would like to see more seasons, please!
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