We’re discussing the premiere episode of “The Divide” and where Season 1 is going with the creator and one of the stars, but be warned of spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched the entire premiere.
In “The Divide’s” debut episode, a clock was set from the beginning, counting down to Jared Bankowski’s execution and whether the Innocence Project workers would be able to save him in time — and they weren’t able to. But DNA evidence that came to light days after Jared was killed by lethal injection that cleared him of the Butler family murders.
Creator Tony Goldwyn, who also directed the first two episodes, tells Zap2it that the execution wasn’t initially where they were going to go with the story, but they realized they needed to raise the stakes.
“What made us realize we had a story was the concept of the prosecutor gets it wrong,” says Goldwyn. “In our first conversation, it wasn’t an execution … it was life in prison or something, but we realized we needed higher stakes. Someone had to die.”
The prosecutor in question is Adam Page (Damon Gupton), who seems like mostly a good guy who thought he was doing the right thing. His father Isaiah (Clarke Peters), on the other hand, is a high-ranking police officer who may not be be on the up-and-up.
“They’re very, very close. I think Adam reveres his father and Isaiah’s been very ambitious for his son, but they see the world through different lenses,” explains Goldwyn. “If there’s anything negative about Isaiah it’s that he has not forgotten his story, he’s not forgotten what he had to fight through to get where he’s gotten. He’s had to throw some really sharp elbows and that’s just the way the world works — as he says to Adam, every decision is about color, son. And that’s the world Isaiah grew up in and continues to live in. We very much explore that and it becomes a real issue between father and son, it gets very, very explosive and it threatens to tear apart this family.”
But Adam and Isaiah’s relationship is not the only father-child relationship explored in the premiere. Christine Rosa (Marin Ireland) is working for the Innocence Project largely because her own father has been wrongfully convicted of a crime and is in prison. His case is something Season 1 will explore.
“In the first season you do find out more, but it doesn’t come to a resolution in the same way as the Butler case,” Ireland tells Zap2it. “There’s a lot we have to find out about it.”
“It becomes a more increasingly stronger pressure on Christine,” Goldwyn adds. “That relationship gets deeper througout the season.”
We wonder how long Christine can keep up her fervent passion for justice, since it’s an arena where people probably burn out easily. Ireland says that it’s not about burnout for Christine, but more about simply trying to figure out in what she can place her faith.
“Christine is really struggling with what to believe in at all,” says Ireland. “She doesn’t believe in the law, but she’s been pushing past that and seeing [law school] as a means to an end, it’s for the greater good. I think that over the course of the season, her belief in that legal system is really failing her. At this point [at the end of Season 1], I don’t know what she’s going to do because I don’t know what she believes in now.”
“Because a lot of s*** goes down,” interjects Goldwyn with a laugh.
“The Divide” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on WEtv.