Aden Young plays Daniel, who was freed after nearly two decades on death row, in Sundance s R­ectify. PHOTO/SUNDANCE
Aden Young plays Daniel, who was freed after nearly two decades on death row, in Sundance s R­ectify. PHOTO/SUNDANCE

Rectify is a determinedly slow, introspective television series with the quiet moodiness of an indie film. The exploration of a man's inner journey back to life after nearly two decades on Georgia's death row relies on spare dialogue.

The engrossing drama, a stand-out when it debuted last year with six episodes, returns on Sundance TV for a second season on Thursday.

Aden Young continues his riveting, stoic performance as Daniel, a dead man walking released when DNA evidence exonerates him after 19 years.

At 18, Daniel Holden was convicted of raping and murdering his young girlfriend, Hannah Dean.

Now he is awkwardly adjusting to freedom, adapting to the almost unbearable flood of sensory input.

Creator and writer Ray McKinnon again sets a tentative pace, challenging viewers to experience the newness and uncertainty of each moment through Daniel's eyes. Flashbacks to a time before prison, and to times in prison, as well as flashes to Daniel's dream state, fill in the characters.

Daniel would like to rejoin the world but worries that he may be "too broken."

The townsfolk are uncomfortable with Daniel's presence among them. At the end of the first season, a gang of locals including Hannah's brother beat Daniel unconscious at her gravesite.

As season 2 opens, Daniel is in a coma in an Atlanta hospital. It is only one week after his release from prison.

The glacial drama keeps pace with the ventilator.


Daniel's sister Amantha (Abigail Spencer) and sister-in-law Tawney (Adelaide Clemens) discuss matters of faith, wondering whether what's happened to Daniel is "some cosmic cause and effect, or just plain random."

Tawney, a religious zealot, has a "special" relationship with Daniel.

Daniel's brother, Ted Jr. (Clayne Crawford), who works in their father's tire store, suspects they are unnaturally close.

The local senator (Michael O'Neill) wishes aloud that Daniel had died in the beating so that he could resume his run for governor. A political conspiracy festers beneath the surface.

A spare score, with somber strings and haunting piano or synthesizer, furthers the unsettling tone.

If it's action you seek, Rectify is a poor choice. But for fine cinematography, great acting and probing character development, you'll want to tune in (the first six episodes are available online at the Sundance TV site and on Netflix).