Why I Should Binge-Watch Rectify

Aden Young talks Season 3 of Rectify, Sundance TV


A complex drama that revolves around a convict named Daniel Holden who is struggling to adjust to life back in the outside world after spending 19 years on death row for the rape and murder of his teenage girlfriend. Released after DNA evidence showed he had nothing to do with the rape, he faces mixed loyalties from his family and the distrust of others in his small hometown of Paulie, Georgia.

Original TV Home: Sundance TV

Number Of Seasons: 2 … so far (April 2013 until now). Season 3 premieres July 9.

Total Episodes / Time Table: 16 Episodes so far (approx. 43 to 54 minutes each) = approx. 16 hours.

Viewing Strategy: Season 1 had only 6 episodes; Season 2 contained 10 episodes. You can easily catch up with the first two seasons within a week by simply watching three episodes per day. Or, if you’re game, you can catch them all via Sundance TV’s 16-hour Complete Binge Marathon on July 4.

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WHO’S IN IT? Top Up arrow

Aden Young, Abigail Spencer, Clayne Crawford, Luke Kirby, J. Smith-Cameron, Adelaide Clemens, Bruce McKinnon, J.D. Evermore, Michael O’Neill, Jake Austin Walker, Sean Bridgers, Sharon Conley. Also a diverse slate of guest stars. Among the most notable: Hal Holbrook (in Season 1, Episode 3).

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Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Xbox. Also online at Sundance.tv (select episodes).

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It is Sundance TV’s first original series, which won a Peabody Award last year for its powerful depiction of a complex story of redemption. Although it was criticized by some for its slow pace, the series really does pull you in if you give it enough of a chance.

Aden Young tops the cast with an intense performance as Daniel Holden, a man grappling with many emotional struggles and psychological demons as he tries to fit back into his old surroundings. Abigail Spencer headlines a solid backup cast as Daniel’s sister, Amantha Holden, who is steadfast in her support of Daniel. Adelaide Clemens also shines as Daniel’s step-sister-in-law, Tawny Talbot, a devout Christian who is battling a number of her own emotional issues, including a troubled marriage to Daniel’s step-brother, Ted Talbot Jr. (Clayne Crawford). Rounding out the family: J. Smith-Cameron as Daniel’s mother, Janet Holden Talbot; Bruce McKinnon as Daniel’s step-father, Ted Talbot Sr.; and Jake Austin Walker as Daniel’s young half-brother, Jared Talbot.

Rectify comes from the creative mind of executive producer Ray McKinnon, who is perhaps much better known for his acting skills, thanks to such roles as Linc Potter in Sons of Anarchy and as Rev. Smith in Deadwood. McKinnon has populated his dramatic saga with a colorful array of characters. Particularly notable among the recurring cast: Luke Kirby as Daniel’s lawyer, Jon Stern; J.D. Evermore as Sheriff Carl Daggett, who keeps digging for the truth behind the Holden case, and Michael O’Neill as State Senator Roland Foulkes, who was the original prosecutor on the case.

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 Every episode, really. As well as contributing to the gradual unraveling of some deeply tangled lines of character development, each episode features a soundtrack with top-notch songs that accompany certain key scenes. The end credits don’t list the tracks, but you can find titles online via tunefind.com.

As for must-see episodes, check these out:

Always There (Season 1, Episode 1): As well as establishing the groundwork for the series, the pilot episode mixes flashbacks with other elements that pack enough of a punch to make you come back.

Jacob’s Ladder (Season 1, Episode 6): The first-season finale contains a number of significant plot twists that set the stage for an intense second season.

Unhinged (Season 2, Episode 10): The second-season finale ties up a lot of elements but then adds a few new ones at the end in order to prepare you for what is coming up in the new season to come.

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Almost every episode has some sort of shocking revelation. A couple of notable mentions …

Always There (Season 1, Episode 1): The final sequence, involving a montage of scenes set to a song called We Are Fine (sung by Sharon Van Etten), features a climactic moment in which one of Daniel’s childhood friends, George (Michael Traynor), realizes he can no longer cope with the truth that has emerged as a result of Daniel’s release.

Sexual Peeling (Season 1, Episode 2): We get a good sense of the true moral nature of Senator Roland Foulkes. After declaring in the first episode that he was “on the wagon” and no longer “tapping” Marcy (Kim Wall), the waitress at the local diner, the good senator reveals behavior that is quite the opposite. And, with The Drones singing Shark Fin Blues in the background, another gripping episode-ending montage includes Amantha overhearing Daniel masturbating in his room.

Drip, Drip (Season 1, Episode 5): The episode opens with a prison flashback that features an outlandish encounter between Daniel and a fellow inmate. There’s an equally bizarre conclusion to the episode when a late-night encounter between Daniel and Ted Jr. doesn’t exactly end amicably.

Jacob’s Ladder (Season 1, Episode 6): Daniel pays a visit to the cemetery and, while at the grave of his teenage girlfriend, he is attacked by a band of masked men out for revenge.

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“I’m not sure what to make of this drastic change of course in my life. I’m certainly not against it.”


– From Always There (Season 1, Episode 1): Daniel speaking at a press conference outside the prison just after his release. It’s the prelude to a quirky philosophical explanation of his view of the world.


“This is messed up as a pile of hangers.”


– From Always There (Season 1, Episode 1): Senator Foulkes discussing his view of the Holden case with the sheriff.


“I don’t think I want to become computer literate. Or mobile-phone literate, either.”


– From Always There (Season 1, Episode 1): Daniel, talking to his mother as she is paying bills via a laptop computer.

“That woman sure knows how to make the dough rise, don’t she?”

– From Modern Times (Season 1, Episode 3): Senator Foulkes summarizes his perception of Marcy the waitress to Daniel’s lawyer, Jon Stern, inside the diner just before the senator reveals that he knows all about the exact nature of the relationship between Jon and Amantha.

“I don’t buy your lost-soul act for a minute. You don’t want to get right with God. You want to get right with my wife. Right in bed with her.”


– From Drip, Drip (Season 1, Episode 5): Ted Jr. confronts Daniel about Daniel’s growing emotional and spiritual connection with Ted Jr.’s wife, Tawney.

“A good deal is when everyone walks away happy, Jon. Or, at least equally unhappy.”


From Until You’re Blue (Season 2, Episode 10): Daniel discusses his potential plea deal with his lawyer in the playground of a public park.
Many other great lines are part of longer dialogue between characters. Among the notable ones:


From Always There (Season 1, Episode 1): A scene flashing back to Daniel’s time in prison, talking through the wall with Kerwin, a fellow inmate in the next cell …


“Of Human Bondage? You want me to read a book called Of Human Bondage?”



“It’s not that kind of bondage.”



From Always There (Season 1, Episode 1) as Amantha takes Daniel for a ride around town …


“Hey, we can go to the Target in Mansfield.”



“What’s the Target?”



“You are.”


Daniel looks at Amantha blankly, as if he doesn’t get the joke.


Sorry … I’m sorry, I don’t know why I said that. It just … came out.


You’re a funny sister.”



Oh, good … you got it.” (She laughs.) “That’s kind of how I deal.”



Gallows humor.


Exactly. Of course, you would know about that, wouldn’t you?”


Daniel looks at her again with surprise.


“I mean – God, I did it again!”



“Um-hmm. We call it lethal-injection humor … more humane … but not as funny.”



From Sexual Peeling (Season 1, Episode 2): Daniel visits a convenience store to buy a few items …

Daniel (examining a bottle of SmartWater in his hand):

“Does this work?”


Store Clerk:

“Not miracles, I would think.”



From Sexual Peeling (Season 1, Episode 2): During lunch, Ted Jr. asks Daniel if he plans to go to work at the family-owned tire store …

Ted Jr.:

“The point is – there’s small-town politics involved here with your, uh, your ongoing situation and all. Y’know, some people have made up their minds about things and there’s just nothing that’s ever going to change them. Y’know, they’re just dug in. People are funny that way.”



“But not ha-ha funny.”



From Sexual Peeling (Season 1, Episode 2): Amantha brings out a plate of food at the family home as Daniel’s lawyer, Jon Stern, talks with Ted Sr., who is cooking on the grill …


“Uh, didn’t we just eat?”



“That was two hours ago – which, around here, is like eight hours in dog years.”


And, as Ted Jr. and Tawney arrive, Jon notices that Ted Sr. has something different that he is cooking for Jon …


“You know, I am a pork eater, just for the record.”


Ted Sr.:

“I just do what I’m told.”



“I’ve been known to cook up some baby back ribs myself.”


Ted Jr.:

“Oh! Be careful now. First, you’re eating a pork sandwich. Next thing you know, you’re drinking the blood of Jesus.”



From Modern Times (Season 1, Episode 3), as Senator Foulkes and Jon Stern discuss Daniel’s case …


“You mind if we get real?”



“I always try to keep it real, Senator.”



“I don’t give a rusty rat’s ass where the jizz landed. This case was air-tight from the moment we pried that poor dead girl from that boy’s clammy hands.”



“It’s not so much where it landed as whose it was.”

From Plato’s Cave (Season 1, Episode 4): Daniel helps Tawny prepare casseroles for an upcoming function at her church.


“Was there a church in prison?”



“There was, but I was only ever allowed visits by the chaplain.”



“Oh, you would meet with him?”



“I would have met with the executioner had he stopped by.”


And, later, as Daniel and Tawny walk outside, on the church grounds …


“Could you ever accept Christ into your heart?”



“I don’t think Buddha would mind makin’ room. Or Confucius. Nietzsche might grumble.”



“You’re so smart.”



“Not really. I just spent long hours in the reading room.”



From Running With The Bull (Season 2, Episode 1): Senator Foulkes expressing his disdain over the fact that the gang that beat Daniel to a pulp didn’t go all the way …


“If they’d just gone on and killed him, I could have started focusing on my run for governor. And you could be back to bustin’ potheads.”


That line is soon followed by an equally contemptible one from the senator:

“Well, if he survives and is brain-damaged, try going up against that in a courtroom. Nothing more effective that a well-timed drool.”

From Sleeping Giants (Season 2, Episode 2): Amantha and her mother, Janet, at Daniel’s bedside in an Atlanta hospital, after a nurse checks in on them …


“Everybody’s been so nice here.”



“It’s because we’re not in Paulie, Mother. You’ll notice a difference in tone sometimes when people don’t wish you were dead.”



“That’s pleasant.”



“Just sayin’ …”