“When They See Us,” Ava DuVernay’s dramatization of the wrongful arrest and conviction of five teenagers in New York City after the rape of a Central Park jogger 20 years ago, has been the most-viewed series on Netflix for the past 13 days.
But Netflix didn’t provide any additional info beyond that, and it has selectively doled out self-reported numbers in the past to tout the popularity of some of its original series and films.
The four-part Netflix series was created by DuVernay, who also co-wrote and directed. She retweeted Netflix’s post about “When They See Us,” commenting only: “*faints*.”
The show has led to a backlash against Linda Fairstein, former head of the sex-crimes division of the Manhattan district attorney’s office overseeing the “Central Park Five” case, who has resigned from the boards of Vassar College and victim-assistance organization Safe Horizon. Last week, she was dropped by her longtime publisher, Penguin Books’ Dutton imprint. Fairstein, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, claimed that the Netflix show “wrongly portrays [the exonerated defendants] as totally innocent — and defames me in the process.”
The show is executive produced by DuVernay through her banner, Array FilmWorks, alongside Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King from Participant Media, Oprah Winfrey from Harpo Films, and Jane Rosenthal, Berry Welsh and Robert De Niro from Tribeca Productions. In addition to DuVernay, Attica Locke, Robin Swicord, Michael Starrbury and Julian Breece also served as writers on the limited series.
The series stars an ensemble cast including Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Blair Underwood, Christopher Jackson, Joshua Jackson, Omar J. Dorsey, Adepero Oduye, Famke Janssen, Aurora Perrineau, William Sadler, Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo, Aunjanue Ellis, Kylie Bunbury, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Storm Reid, Dascha Polanco, Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares, Justin Cunningham, Ethan Herisse, Caleel Harris, Marquis Rodriguez, and Asante Blackk.