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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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.
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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.
Talk to your kids 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?
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love drama
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.