I know you didn’t do it. Because I know you.
How is a person meant to live in a world they spent 19 years isolated from? How does a community react to the release of a man they were convinced was a killer? How is a family meant to adapt to the return of man who was barely an adult when they last saw him? Rectify asks many questions but to its strength decides to answer them when it is ready and goes for a deliberate reflective approach instead. It refuses to answer what in other shows would be the central mystery – is Daniel Holden (Aden Young) innocent or not (the evidence that helps his appeal gets him out of jail but doesn’t exonerate him completely)
Rectify is a masterclass in focusing on character than plot, this doesn’t always work for shows and in theory Rectify should be boring , its pace is glacial at times and the six episodes comprising S1 only follows Daniel’s first 6 days released from death row but it really works thanks to the beautiful direction and the absolutely outstanding performances. Aden Young is hypnotising in the main role, a largely unknown actor before this series he gives a performance which makes it impossible not to fall under the spell of Daniel. He isn’t charming, the kind of character that audiences would naturally be drawn to but he is a thoughtful one, and a man who is slightly odd and whose strangeness may have always been a part of him rather than a result of nearly two decades in prison.
Even if it is revealed that Daniel is truly guilty I still think it is impossible not to feel something for him as he ventures out into the real world again he is faced with such changes. It is easy for us to forget how advanced technology has become for example or little things like naming bottled water ‘Smart water’ which leads Daniel to question whether it works. Daniel is not only dealing with a new world he is facing the scrutiny of the town and the possibility that new charges could be brought against him.
The season comes to a brutal but inevitable conclusion and in a way the show could have ended that way but it is going to be interesting to see where the story of Daniel goes and whether the show will eventually give us firm answers on his guilt (and whether that even matters)
Favourite episodes: Drip, Drip / Jacob’s Ladder