On May 31st, Netflix is releasing a scripted four-part series from acclaimed director Ava DuVernay (13th) based on the true story of the Central Park Five. When They See Us chronicles the legal failure that resulted in the wrongful incarceration of four black boys and one Latinx boy. In 1989, four juveniles were convicted and imprisoned for a crime they did not commit — the violent, horrible rape of a female jogger in Central Park. DuVernay provides the due process that the Harlem boys deserved, serving long-awaited justice in her careful examination of the Central Park jogger case. The series will premiere on the 30th anniversary of the incident.
Using the memories of Antron McCray, Raymond Santa, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, and Korey Wise, director DuVernay paints a painful portrait of innocent teens losing their youth. DuVernay makes every attempt to privilege the perspectives of the victims, retelling the story through their vantage point. The project was originally titled The Central Park Five, the label which was given to the five teenagers by the media. Netflix and DuVernay renamed the series in order to “embrace the humanity of the men and not their politicized moniker.”
“For a long time this narrative has not been theirs,” said actress Niecy Nash, who plays the mother of Korey Wise in the series. “It’s been told by other people. This is the time for some sort of healing to manifest in their lives because the story is from their lens, vantage point them and their families.“
When They See Us will span over 25 years, from the first time that the boys were questioned in 1989 and through their 2002 exoneration. In 2015, the five men received a 41 million dollar settlement from the city of New York for what they endured.
The miniseries boasts an impressive cast, which includes Michael K. Williams, Niecy Nash, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Christopher Jackson, Omar J. Dorsey, Blair Underwood, Adepero Oduye, Joshua Jackson, Famke Janssen, William Sadler, Aurora Perrineau, Jharrel Jerome, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Storm Reid, Jovan Adepo, Aunjanue Ellis, Kylie Bunbury, Chris Chalk Ethan Herisse, Caleel Harris, Freddy Miyares, Justin Cunningham, Marquis Rodriguez and Asante Blackk.
When They See Us will premiere May 31st on Netflix.