On May 31, the stories of Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise, often called The Central Park Five, are arriving on Netflix. The four-part limited series, titled When They See Us, will follow the teens of color who were wrongly accused and convicted of rape. Directed by Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Ava DuVernay, the show will cover 25 years, from their initial questioning in spring 1989 to their 2014 settlement with the city of New York.
DuVernay said of the project in a statement:
In 1989, five black and brown teen boys were wrongly accused of a crime they did not commit and branded The Central Park Five, a moniker that has followed them since that time. In 2019, our series gives the five men a platform to finally raise their voices and tell their full stories. In doing so, Korey, Antron, Raymond, Kevin and Yusef also tell the story of many young people of color unjustly ensnared in the criminal justice system. We wanted to reflect this perspective in our title, embracing the humanity of the men and not their politicized moniker.
DuVernay not only created When They See Us, but she also co-wrote and directed the series. The cast itself is Emmy Award catnip (the series just barely makes the Emmy eligibility window). Moonlight’s Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo (Fences), Freddy Miyares (Elementary), Justin Cunningham (Succession) and Chris Chalk (12 Years a Slave) star as Korey, Antron, Raymond, Kevin and Yusef, respectively. The bill is rounded out by Michael K. Williams (The Wire), Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel), John Leguizamo (John Wick), Felicity Huffman (American Crime), Niecy Nash (Selma), Blair Underwood (Quantico), Christopher Jackson of Hamilton fame, Joshua Jackson (Pacey!), Omar J. Dorsey(Selma), Adepero Oduye (The Big Short), Famke Janssen (How to Get Away with Murder), Aurora Perrineau (Truth or Dare), William Sadler (Power), Aunjanue Ellis (If Beale Street Could Talk), Kylie Bunbury (Game Night), Marsha Stephanie Blake (Orange Is the New Black), Storm Reid (A Wrinkle in Time), Ethan Herisse (Key and Peele), Caleel Harris (Castle Rock), Marquis Rodriguez (Iron Fist) and Asante Blackk.
Executive producers include DuVernay through her banner Forward Movement, Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King from Participant Media, Oprah Winfrey from Harpo Films, and Jane Rosenthal, Berry Welsh and Robert De Niro from Tribeca Productions. Attica Locke, Robin Swicord and Michael Starrbury wrote the series with DuVernay.
Watch the teaser and scroll through the first-look photos below.