The new Hulu series UnPrisoned premiered Friday. In it, Kerry Washington plays Paige Alexander, a relationship therapist and single mother, and her father, played by Delroy Lindo, is released from prison and comes to live with her and her teenage son.
Inspired by self-proclaimed relationship expert Tracy McMillian, whose father was in prison most of her life, we get to see the dysfunction play out between a father and daughter. Trauma, boundaries and most importantly, how society views ex-felons, is explored.
UnPrisoned does a great job of being funny while sprinkling in some serious moments that are expected when you have a family member who has been incarcerated.
This show is definitely a comedic take on the life of people who were incarcerated, especially when it comes to the family dynamics. We see Paige in the beginning of episode one attempting to portray an image to the world that she has it all together in her life, when that is not really the case.
[Sam Levinson shouldn’t punish actors for providing input]
“Parent and partner are just one letter off. How you get parented is how you get partnered,” the perfectionist relationship therapist said to her Instagram audience. In reality, she is still dealing with past trauma from her dad as well as other caregivers and is in a stagnant relationship with a married man.
It has been three years since we have seen Washington in a TV show. Most of Washington’s work within recent years has been dramas, so it’s refreshing to see her in something a bit more lighthearted.
Even though Washington has been in some critically acclaimed work such as Scandal and Little Fires Everywhere in recent years, Lindo stole the show with his charm and the way he tries to mend the relationship with his estranged daughter. There is a hesitancy to let her dad back into her life, understandably so, but through their relationship, we get to explore other themes such as generational trauma, forgiveness and what that looks like for these two characters.
[I lost my freshman friend group, but it led to the mature friendships I have now]
Through the trauma in Paige’s life with her dad, we get to see why she makes certain decisions with the men in her own life. This show also does a great job of sitting in the uncomfortable conversations that have to happen within yourself and with the loved ones in your life for healing and forgiveness to ultimately happen. The series also reveals that because of her absent father, Paige was in the foster care system and had multiple mothers during her upbringing.
The dramedy does a good job of unpacking a lot of heavy topics and uncomfortable conversations. UnPrisoned does a good job at pushing and challenging the way we interact with our loved ones who have a not so perfect past.