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Kerry Washington, Delroy Lindo wanted to humanize those impacted by imprisonment on ‘Unprisoned’


Kelsey McNeal

In the new Hulu series UnprisonedKerry Washington plays Paige, a relationship therapist and single mom whose life is upended when her father returns from a 16-year prison stint. The show is inspired by creator Tracy McMillan‘s life, but Kerry says she and Delroy Lindo, who plays her father, Edwin, found a way to make the characters their own.

“One thing I think we both were negotiating was how to honor the source of the story and bring all of her truth that she was offering to us … but to also give ourselves permission to not be Tracy and her dad,” Kerry tells ABC Audio. “We had to be Paige and Edwin, so we had to have the freedom to … figure out who we were going to be that could bring all of that truth.” But, she notes, they were also characters of their own making based on the material.

Kerry adds she gave the show her all, as it was an opportunity to work with Delroy. “The honor of being able to come to work and know that I was gonna be able to have the opportunity to work with this man, who has been a hero of mine for decades — it was so inspiring,” she says. “I wanted to make him proud.”

Delroy says he equally enjoyed working with Kerry, who he called a “force.” He says he didn’t watch Scandal but felt the need to “come on with it,” and referred to their experience as a “formidable exchange.”

With Unprisoned, Kerry and Delroy hope to bring attention to those impacted by imprisonment, as well as their loved ones, and the process of returning to society. “We just wanted to humanize and dimensionalize this very real dynamic that is so common in our country that we don’t talk about enough,” Kerry says. (AUDIO 1-ON-1)

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