By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 6, 2014 at 1:01PM
WE tv has set an official debut date for its first original scripted drama, The Divide, which will launch with a special two-hour premiere on Wednesday, July 16th, at 9pm ET/PT before moving to its regular 10pm ET/PT timeslot beginning on Wednesday, July 23rd.
The Richard LaGravenese/Tony Goldwyn drama stars Damon Gupton as Adam Powell - a district attorney who uncovers new evidence that prompts the re-investigation of a sensational racially-motivated murder case.
Marin Ireland (Homeland, Mildred Pierce) stars opposite Gupton as a caseworker who challenges Powell's convictions.
Nia Long took over the role that Aunjanue Ellis was initially cast to play - the district attorney's wife, Billie Powell, who's described as a hard-charging successful partner in a private equity firm.
Also, Clarke Peters (also of The Wire, Treme, and more) play supporting roles as Adam’s younger brother, a novice, naive cop, and Adam's (Damon's) father, Isaiah Page, a retired cop and the former Philadelphia police commissioner.
The project has always read like a stellar drama to me, on paper, given those involved, the premise, and the fact that it was initially set to run on AMC (known for its strong, award-winning dramatic programming slate). When I learned that it would instead air on WEtv, as I noted in a previous post, I wondered whether the series would be the right fit for WEtv, and if it is, what that tell us about it, given WEtv's past and current lineup of shows, which includes a reality TV-heavy slate like Braxton Family Values, Bridezillas, and its spin-off called Marriage Boot Camp: Bridezillas.
Not exactly weighty, dramatic, suspenseful, dark scripted material. So I wondered if this move would actually hurt the show. Although I haven't seen any of it (except for the below trailer), so I could be in for a surprise, if we discover that it's actually closer in style to a series like Scandal, than it is to Homeland, or Breaking Bad, for example; and would fit very well into WEtv's programming lineup, given the channel's demographic.
It could also be that AMC Networks (the parent company) wants to rebrand WEtv, moving away from cheap reality TV to scripted programming.
By the way, speaking of Scandal, Tony Goldwyn, one of the creators of the series, plays President Fitzgerald Grant on Shonda Rhimes' Scandal; he's a director in his own right, helming episodes of Grey's Anatomy, Damages, Private Practice, Dexter, Justified, and others.
But it's a done deal, and it's coming to WEtv (8 episodes) on Wednesday, July 16th, at 9pm ET/PT.
Here's an official synopsis:
"The Divide" is a thought-provoking and suspenseful drama that explores the personal cost of morality, ambition, ethics, politics, and race in today's justice system through the eyes of Christine Rosa played by Marin Ireland, an impassioned caseworker with The Innocence Initiative, and Adam Page played by Damon Gupton, an equally passionate district attorney and political rising star. Eleven years ago, the Butler family was attacked in their Philadelphia home and all but the youngest daughter were brutally murdered. The senseless deaths of this affluent African American family, seemingly at the hands of two white construction workers, Terry Kucik (Joe Anderson) and Jared Bankowski (Chris Bauer), threatened to ignite a racial firestorm in the City of Brotherly Love. Adam Page (Gupton), himself an affluent black man and the city's District Attorney as well as a political rising star, made a name for himself by securing convictions for both men, leading to the death penalty ruling for Bankowski. Now, Christine Rosa (Ireland), a caseworker with the Innocence Initiative, believes Bankowski was wrongly convicted of the heinous murders and struggles to stop his impending execution, while tirelessly working to exonerate Kucik.In her search for the truth, Christine uncovers evidence that puts her at odds with Adam who will do everything in his power to uphold the verdict and keep his reputation intact. His actions put a strain on his marriage to Billie, played by Nia Long, a powerhouse corporate attorney at a crossroads in her personal and professional life. Throughout the journey, all three of their pasts resurface as they are faced with the question of one man's guilt or innocence intertwined with their own personal histories.
The Divide also stars Paul Schneider as Clarke Rylance, an old law school buddy of Adam and Billie's who chooses a different path when he signs on with The Innocence Initiative.
LaGravenese writes and executive produces alongside Tony Goldwyn (President Fitzgerald Grant on Shonda Rhimes' Scandal), who also directed.
Watch the first trailer below: