Netflix has released a full-length trailer for Ava DuVernay's When They See Us mini-series. The project marks the second joint venture for the streaming giant and critically-acclaimed Selma director, following their previous collaboration on the Oscar-nominated documentary 13th. Much like that film, When They See Us explores racism and prejudice within the U.S. justice system based on real-life incidents. Specifically, the four part series explores the Central Park Five case, in which five teenagers of color were arrested and charged with raping a white female jogger in Central Park one night in April 1989.
Directed by DuVernay (who also co-wrote all four episodes), the When They See Us cast includes Jharrel Jerome (Mr. Mercedes), Caleel Harris (Castle Rock), Ethan Herisse (Miss Virginia), Marquis Rodriguez (Iron Fist), and relative newcomer Asante Blackk as the young versions of the Central Park Five. While all five actors were previously featured in the When they See Us teaser that Netflix dropped in March, the preview also offered sound bites of Felicity Huffman (yes, that Felicity Huffman) as Linda Fairstein, who oversaw the prosecution of the Central Park Five during her term as Manhattan's District Attorney. Now, with about a month to go before its premiere, the series has gotten a full-length preview.
Netflix dropped the full-length trailer for When They See Us online today, offering a better look at the ensemble cast and the series in general. You can check it out in the space below.
Much like the teaser, the When They See Us trailer serves as a small taste of what looks and sounds like an emotionally intense docudrama, with the dark hues of Selma cinematographer Bradford Young's visuals acting as the perfect mood-setter. The trailer also provides a first look at the film's more seasoned cast members, including John Leguizamo and Michael K. Williams as two of the Central Park Five's fathers, and Joshua Jackson and Vera Farmiga as the lawyers for the defense and prosecution, respectively. There are also hints of the latter half of the story here, which jumps forward in time to the 2000s and reveals what happened when the Central Park Five were exonerated at long last, after the real attacker confessed and was confirmed with the use of DNA evidence.
Between the cast bringing their A-game to the table and DuVernay working in her element behind the camera, When They See Us certainly has the potential for greatness, by the look of things. Much like American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, DuVernay's Central Park Five docudrama series has the potential to offer fresh insight and a different perspective on a major court case that a lot of people have heard of, but only know about in terms of the broader strokes. And yes, the mini-series will touch on the fact that Donald Trump took out full-page ads calling for the revival of the death penalty when the Central Park Five were first arrested, as briefly glimpsed in the trailer.
When They See Us begins streaming exclusively through Netflix on Friday, May 31.