Brace yourselves viewers. In a world filled with reality TV shows, WEtv is branching out and digging back into the realm of scripted series programming with their new legal drama “The Divide.” Although the series is set to “premiere” on Wednesday, July 18, 2014, early viewing is now available. “The Divide” is an entertaining soup mix involving the justice system, race, politics and morality.
A Philadelphia death-row inmate named Gerard Vankowski is days away from drawing his last breath. Leading the crusade to prove his innocence is eager legal beaver case worker Christine Rosa (Marin Ireland) of the Innocence Initiative. Christine is working her way through law school and her father was or is on death row. Right now, the jury is still out as to whether or not daddy occupies a death cell as a ghost or in the flesh. You’ll see why later.
Vankowski and Terry Kucik are the two white men convicted for murdering an African American family, the Butlers, 11 years ago. Unlike Vankowski, prison will definitely be Kucik’s home until he dies from old age or illness. His DNA was found on one of the victims who had been raped. However, he declares it wasn’t rape because they were in a relationship. Unfortunately, the Butler female cannot corroborate his story because she is dead.
Christine soon gets her hands on a crucial piece of evidence. How can Vankowski’s DNA be found underneath the fingernails of one of the murdered victims yet photos show not one scratch on his body? Inquiring minds may want to know but Philly’s star District Attorney Adam Page (Damon Gupton) doesn’t want to hear it. Nevertheless, plans for testing are approved but Vankowski refuses to participate. He checked out the TV schedules. “All My Children” is no longer on the air so he has no reason to walk out those prison gates.
Christine visits co-defendant Kucik in hopes he will divulge new information to help Vankowsi, but her visit only upsets him. He wants to know who is going to help him. No one buddy. Next, Christine drops by Vankowski’s mother’s house. She believes her son should stay right where he is. According to her, he became a better man while in prison and it would be cruel to give him false hope now. Suddenly, Christine becomes suspicious after taking a closer look at the unemployed Mrs. Vankowski’s home with its expensive furnishings and all. Something fishing is going on here.
After giving an impassioned speech about the dirty dealings of “the establishment” and sharing her “dead” father’s death row story with Vankowski, the doomed man agrees to go through with the testing. He is especially agreeable after Christine spills what she knows about his case. He was actually with a woman on the night he was arrested. The woman has since disappeared but before that she had been arrested for DUI and bailed out by a known gang leader who later died under mysterious circumstances. So on and so forth. Hence, how did Mrs. Vankowski pay for her nice new flat screen TV. We get the picture. Again, something fishy is indeed going on.
When Clark calls Adam Page to let him know Vankowski has changed his mind, Adam turns a shade white even though he’s African American. Apparently, Adam and his police dad Isaiah (Clarke Peters) share a secret important to the case. Whatever the secret is, Adam’s wife Billie (Nia Long) is not privy to it. Incidentally, actor Clarke Peters (“The Wire” and “Person of Interest” alum) has a gifted ability for portraying dirty conniving authority figures. Things could get interesting here.
As a counter move, Adam puts Jenny Butler, the only surviving member of the massacred family in front of television cameras. Jenny plays the race card by asking “if the murderer was black, would the justice system still be re-opening the case?” Afterwards, Jenny and Christine share an awkward moment outside comparing opposite and similar family histories. However, Jenny is not moved by Christine’s “dead-daddy-death-row-inmate” chronicle.
Christine goes to prison once more. This time she’s there to see her dad who appears to be very much alive.
Watch “The Divide” on Wednesdays at 9:00 PM on WEtv.