The masterful four-season drama takes a surprisingly biblical view of human nature.
In the wake of its fourth and final season, the Sundance Channel’s Rectify is still generating surprisingly little buzz. Despite being warmly embraced by critics (its last two seasons have garnered 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), the show remains largely overlooked, its appeal decidedly more understated than that of its more colorful competitors (HBO’s Game of Thrones or AMC’s The Walking Dead both come to mind)—enough so that the quietly majestic finale snuck past most viewers on December 14 as the series wrapped.
This neglect is a shame, because Rectify is one of the finest television dramas of the last several years, worthy of standing alongside such acknowledged masterpieces as David Simon’s The Wire and Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men. This is a bold claim, I know, but I’m not alone in my high estimation—and for Christians, in particular, the show’s careful balance of light and darkness comes as a welcome relief from the lurid tunnel vision of so much popular entertainment.
Admittedly, Rectify has a bit of a marketing problem: it’s hard to categorize. On the surface, it resembles a simple whodunit. In the fictional town of Paulie, Georgia, 18-year-old Daniel Holden, high on magic mushrooms, is convicted of raping and murdering his girlfriend, Hannah, and is subsequently sentenced to death. Then after nearly two decades, a previously overlooked piece of DNA evidence surfaces that calls the verdict into question.
The show begins with Daniel’s release from prison. It’s been 19 years. Though we suspect he’s not the hardened criminal he’s been painted out to be by the town’s ruthless prosecutor-senator, Roland Foulkes, the details of Daniel’s …