Netflix has dropped a searing first look at Ava DuVernay’s take on the Central Park Five case with this trailer for the four-part When They See Us miniseries. From the looks of the intense few minutes above, the project promises to be a compelling treatment of the case — in which five teenagers of color were wrongfully accused and convicted of raping a female jogger — that gripped not only NYC but the nation for over two decades. In doing so, the case exposed an undercurrent of racism (including Donald Trump’s controversial publishing of ads calling for the death penalty) throughout the U.S. From the synopsis:
When They See Us will chronicle the notorious case of five teenagers of color, labeled the Central Park Five, who were convicted of a rape they did not commit. The four part limited series will focus on the five teenagers from Harlem — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise. Beginning in the spring of 1989, when the teenagers were first questioned about the incident, the series will span 25 years, highlighting their exoneration in 2002 and the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014.
The miniseries arrives with a jam-packed ensemble cast, including Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Niecy Nash, Blair Underwood, Christopher Jackson, Felicity Huffman Joshua Jackson, Omar Dorsey, Adepero Oduye, Famke Janssen, Aurora Perrineau, Dascha Polanco, William Sadler, Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo, Aunjanue Ellis, Kylie Bunbury, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Storm Reid, Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares, Justin Cunningham, Ethan Herisse, Caleel Harris, Marquis Rodriguez, and Asante Blackk.
Even with all those names onboard and the serious subject matter at hand, it probably won’t go unnoticed that the cast list includes Felicity Huffman. The Desperate Housewives star will be making her first onscreen appearance since her guilty plea in the Operation Varsity Blues college admission scheme. Netflix did quietly remove one of her movies, a comedy called Otherhood co-starring Angela Bassett, from its schedule. However, Huffman’s character — Linda Fairstein, who headed up the Manhattan district attorney’s office sex crimes unit in 1989 — is vital to the telling of this story. So, Netflix probably couldn’t maneuver around including her in this trailer, and the streaming shall continue.
Netflix’s When They See Us arrives on May 31.