‘When They See Us’ Cast & Exonerated Five on Hopes for Justice System Reform (VIDEO)


Netflix is delving into one of America’s best-known cases of criminal injustice as the limited series When They See Us debuts on the streaming platform.

Following the story of the “Central Park Five,” the series follows the now Exonerated Five from the time they were taken in for questioning during an investigation into a 1989 rape through their 2002 exoneration and settlement with New York City in 2014.

Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana Jr. and Korey Wise are the subjects, and they along with series showrunner Ava DuVernay and the cast are breaking down the story and the steps of the justice system in a new featurette.

Despite the years that have passed since the initial crime, the real-life men, DuVernay and more discuss the parallels present in today’s current justice system structure. “This is a jumping-off point. Think about larger issues around the injustice of our current system of justice,” DuVernay says of the project.

“Film does have the power to change things, and as it relates to the prison industrial complex, as it relates to the criminal justice system and all of the insidious behaviors that are within it and we keep… sharing these stories,” DuVernay continues, “I believe that we get to a place where people will be intolerant of what is happening and demand change.”

The Exonerated Five (Clockwise from bottom left: Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana Jr. and Antron McCray, Credit: Netflix)

She also reveals that the limited series is divided into four parts to show the full workings of the system that failed The Exonerated Five. “When you incarcerate one person, you incarcerate their whole family,” DuVernay highlights.

“I’m a survivor. I’m just a survivor,” Korey Wise says of his experience of being wrongfully imprisoned for over 13 years. His fellow exonerated echo his sentiments as they voice hope for an improved system.

See their candid discussion about the series in the featurette below, and don’t miss When They See Us on Netflix now.

When They See Us, Streaming now, Netflix