Season three of “Rectify” ended with protagonist Daniel Holden confessing to murder and accepting banishment from Georgia. The show’s fourth and final season finds Daniel in a halfway house in Nashville, removed from the context in which he’s been in prior seasons.
“I think in some ways the story has been about Daniel being a conduit for the projection onto him of others,” series creator and executive producer Ray McKinnon said Sunday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. “Part of the mystery and part of the tension of this season will be can Daniel become himself as he is now — not who he could have been.”
McKinnon did not divulge whether another part of this season would see the secret at the root of the show’s story revealed — whether Daniel committed as a teenager the murder for which he spent 19 years in prison.
“There’s that issue, and hopefully by the end of the season how we deal with that will leave you, in a ‘Rectify’ way, satisfied,” he said. “Maybe for some people it will, some people it won’t.”
Cast member J. Smith-Cameron hinted that closure might not be as clear-cut as some fans would want.
“One of the leitmotifs [of the show] is ambivalent loss,” she said. “There’s no such thing as closure. That’s true of the show.”
Aden Young, who plays Daniel, said that portraying the character for the show’s run without knowing whether he committed murder was part of what he signed up for.
“It was a challenge,” he said. “It was certainly a challenge I embraced. I didn’t think Ray was ever going to tell me.” When he began work on the show, he asked McKinnon the “wrong” question. “I didn’t ask him whether [Daniel] did it or not. I asked, are you going to tell me whether he did it or not. So began a philosophical discussion that lasted five years”
If the audience never learns whether Daniel did or didn’t commit murder, that would be emblematic of the show as a whole.
“We want the conclusion to answer all our questions, but that’s not life,” McKinnon said. “And part of what we try to do with the show is reflect in a skewed way what life is.”
SundanceTV announced in January that “Rectify” would end after four seasons. The final season is scheduled to premiere Oct. 26.