TV Series Review
Grace Greenleaf used to be a legend. Daughter to Calvary megachurch pastors Bishop James and Lady Mae Greenleaf, Grace was a walking sermon, loved by all who had the opportunity to hear her.
But Grace’s faith took a heavy hit when she was nearly raped, and when she learned that her uncle Mac, a deacon in the church, molested and raped her younger sister, Faith. Instead of confessing all, Uncle Mac denied the accusations and buried them far away from the public eye. After all, scandal doesn’t settle well in the church.
Confused and betrayed by the very people they were raised to trust, Grace moved from Memphis, Tennessee across the country to Arizona to escape, while Faith turned to … well, self-medication. However, distance and drugs can only do so much before the demons of your past come creeping back.
Twenty years later, Grace receives a phone call with news that Faith has committed suicide. Now, Grace must return to Greenleaf Manor to face each of her family members. But if she wants the real details of Faith’s death, those her family is trying to bury, she’ll have to confront the life she so desperately wants to leave behind.
All the Sins at Calvary
If you’re looking for a steamy drama with endless scandal and lies--all in a church setting--Greenleaf is the show for you. Airing on the Oprah Winfrey Network beginning in 2016 Greenleaf is now in its fourth season. And while Grace is still working on family issues back in Greenleaf Manor, a lot has changed.
Grace is raising her now adult daughter, Sophia, who’s just left for college. She’s also working as interim pastor at Calvary church, hoping to secure its future after Calvary was bought out by a money-hungry corporation called (somewhat ironically) Harmony and Hope.
Her parents, Bishop James and Lady Mae are no longer on staff and no longer married…for now. But don’t worry, the entire family still lives in the same manor.
Grace’s brother, Jacob, a former pastor at Calvary, is married to vindictive wife, Kerissa, and sleeping around with whatever woman walks his way. But as long as Jacob is a present father to his and Kerissa’s two children, he’s free to engage in as many extramarital affairs as he sees fit—or so it seems.
Charity, Grace’s youngest sister, is reeling from her divorce from her now outed gay ex-husband, Kevin, and trying to raise her young son, all while recovering from a drug addiction of her own. To top it off, Charity is bent on becoming an associate pastor at Calvary church—even if it means betraying her family.
There’s Always More Where That Came From
The thing about Greenleaf is that it’s filled with some pretty heavy content.
God is supposed to be front and center in the Greenleafs’ lives, but religion is instead used as a tool to deceive and manipulate more than it is to bring about actual healthy relationship. In fact, I’m not so sure any of characters here really know much about God at all. There’s mention of the prosperity gospel. There’s talk about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. But if a real relationship with God does exist, you wouldn’t know it from looking at anyone’s life.
Perhaps a few are searching for truth, and maybe they’ll find it, but it will be hard to see buried beneath years of sex scandals, drug use, extortion and dark family secrets.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
+Sept. 3, 2019: “Original Sin”
Readability Age Range
Merle Dandridge as Grace Greenleaf; Desiree Ross as Sophia Greenleaf; Kim Hawthorne as Kerissa Greenleaf; Lamman Rucker as Jacob Greenleaf; Lynn Whitfield as Lady Mae Greenleaf; Lovie Simone as Zora Greenleaf; Deborah Joy Winans as Charity Greenleaf-Satterlee; Keith David as Bishop James Greenleaf; Tye White as Kevin Satterlee; Chevonne Hughes as Karine; Gregory Alan Williams as Robert 'Mac' McCready; Rick Fox as Darius Nash; Asia'h Epperson as Tasha Skanks; Jason Dirden as Basie Skanks; Jen Harper as Deacon Sykes; LeToya Luckett-Walker as Rochelle Cross; Roxzane T. Mims as Darlene; Cortez Zion McCauley as Winkie; William H. Bryant Jr. as Aaron Jeffries; Benjamin Patterson as Noah Kendall; Oprah Winfrey as Mavis McCready