Greenleaf (TV series)
Greenleaf is an American television drama series, created by Craig Wright, and executive produced by Oprah Winfrey and Lionsgate Television. Clement Virgo also serves as an executive producer and director. It stars Keith David, Lynn Whitfield, and Merle Dandridge. Greenleaf premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network on June 21, 2016.
|Created by||Craig Wright|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||48 (list of episodes)|
|Producer(s)||Gerrit Van der Meer|
|Production location(s)||Atlanta, Georgia|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Pine City |
|Original network||Oprah Winfrey Network|
|Original release||June 21, 2016 –|
On November 23, 2018, OWN renewed the series for a fourth season. The fourth season premiered on September 3, 2019.
Greenleaf follows the unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family with scandalous secrets and lies, and their sprawling Memphis megachurch with predominantly African-American members. The series' lead characters are Bishop James Greenleaf (David) and Lady Mae Greenleaf (Whitfield), who are the patriarch and matriarch of the Greenleaf family, and Grace Greenleaf (Dandridge), their estranged daughter who has returned home after 20 years following the mysterious death of her sister, Faith.
On July 30, 2015, OWN announced that it had ordered Greenleaf—a new drama following an African-American megachurch run by the eponymous family in Memphis, Tennessee. Both Greenleaf and another series announced that year, Queen Sugar, were the first scripted series acquired by OWN that were not produced by Tyler Perry. The series was created by Lost and Six Feet Under writer Craig Wright and executive produced by Oprah Winfrey with Wright and Lionsgate Television, with 13 episodes for the first season set for production later in 2015. On September 9, 2015, The Book of Negroes writer and director Clement Virgo joined the series as executive producer and director of the pilot episode.
Filming of the first season began in October, 2015 in Atlanta, and ended on March 24, 2016. On January 21, 2016, it was announced that series will debut with a two-night premiere at 10 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, 2016 and 10 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, and will regularly air on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Later premiere was moved to June 21, 2016 and June 22, 2016. The world premiere of Greenleaf will be shown during Tribeca Film Festival in April, before television debut in June 2016.
Casting advertising began in August 2015. On August 24, 2015, it was announced that Lynn Whitfield, Merle Dandridge and Desiree Ross are the first actors cast in series. Emmy Award winner Whitfield will star as Lady Mae Greenleaf, Bishop Greenleaf's wife, steely and power and money hungry matriarch of the family, while Dandridge play her estranged daughter who returns to home with her teenage daughter (played by Ross). On September 3, 2015, Keith David was cast in the leading role of Bishop James Greenleaf, the family patriarch and leader of Calvary Fellowship World Ministries. On September 4, 2015 Tye White has been cast as son-in-law of the Bishop. On September 9, 2015, Lamman Rucker, Kim Hawthorne and Deborah Joy Winans have landed the last three regular roles. Rucker plays eldest son, while Hawthorne stars as his controlling wife. Winans plays the youngest daughter of the Bishop.
On September 24, 2015, it was announced that series' executive producer Oprah Winfrey joined Greenleaf in a recurring role as Mavis McCready, the sister of Lady Mae Greenleaf. Whitfield and Winfrey previous co-starred in the 1989 miniseries The Women of Brewster Place. On November 20, 2015 Anna Diop was cast as a teacher who is engaged to Greenleaf Estate's manager. Three days later, it was announced that Terri J. Vaughn will recur as chief housekeeper at Greenleaf mansion.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||June 21, 2016||August 31, 2016|
|2||16||March 15, 2017||September 27, 2017|
|3||13||August 28, 2018||November 21, 2018|
|4||TBA||September 3, 2019||TBA|
Ahead of its television premiere, on April 21, 2016, the series was renewed for a second season, which premiered on March 15, 2017. Season 2 returned with new episodes on a two-night premiere beginning on August 15, 2017. On August 7, 2017, the series was renewed for a third season, which premiered in a two-night premiere on August 28 and August 29, 2018 and ran until November 21, 2018. On September 19, 2018, the series was renewed for a fourth season.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Keith David as Bishop James Greenleaf, the charismatic and strong leader of Calvary Fellowship World Ministries and Greenleaf family patriarch.
- Lynn Whitfield as "First Lady" Daisy Mae Greenleaf, née McCready, Bishop Greenleaf's wife, First Lady of Calvary Fellowship and family matriarch.
- Merle Dandridge as Pastor Grace "Gigi" Greenleaf, Mae and Bishop's eldest child. She returns home 20 years after escaping from the family, intent on bringing justice to her Uncle Mac for molesting her sister, Faith, and many other young women. Her mother and siblings consistently deplore her "desertion".
- Desiree Ross as Sophia Greenleaf, Grace's daughter, who shares her mother's charms and whose deep religious faith is challenged.
- Lamman Rucker as Pastor Jacob Greenleaf, the second-born child and only son of the Bishop. He is the Pastor at the rival Triumph Church and desperately tries to prove to his father that he can be his own man. He resents Grace for abandoning the family and leaving him to take her place in the ministry, crushing his dream of a career in professional baseball.
- Kim Hawthorne as Kerissa Greenleaf, Jacob's ambitious and controlling wife and headmistress of Excellence Academy.
- Deborah Joy Winans as Charity Greenleaf, the youngest Greenleaf child and also Minister of Music at Calvary Fellowship. Being the youngest, she is furious at being left out of family situations. Like Jacob, she resents Grace for leaving the family, forcing Charity to stay bound to her family's church.
- Tye White as Kevin Satterlee, Charity's ex-husband and former director of Outreach at Calvary Fellowship (Seasons 1-3)
- Gregory Alan Williams as Robert "Mac" McCready, Lady Mae's brother, secretly a child molester responsible for his niece Faith's suicide, the main motive of Grace's battle for justice. (Recurring character Season 1, main Season 2).
- Lovie Simone as Zora Greenleaf, Kerissa and Jacob's rebellious daughter. (Recurring Season 1, main Season 2 to present)
- Rick Fox as Darius Nash, a journalist who helps investigates Mac's case and eventually becomes Grace's new love interest. (Recurring Season 2, main Season 3 to present)
- Oprah Winfrey as Mavis McCready, Lady Mae and Mac's sister and a close confidant of Grace; once a nightclub owner. Mavis and Mae are estranged and it was revealed in Season 2 that Mavis and Bishop once had a romantic relationship.
- Terri J. Vaughn as Melisse, chief housekeeper at Greenleaf mansion. (Season 1)
- Benjamin Patterson as Noah Kendall, Greenleaf Estate's manager, church security chief and Gigi's ex-boyfriend and sweetheart.(Seasons 1, 4)
- Anna Diop as Isabel, a teacher engaged to Greenleaf Estate's manager, Noah Kendall (Season 1)
- Bill Cobbs as Henry McCready, father of Lady Mae, Mavis, and Mac (Seasons 1–2)
- Michael Rodrick as Ray Fisher, Sophia's father from Arizona.
- Kristin Erickson as Alexa Campbell, the Bishop's former Secretary and Jacob's mistress. (Season 1)
- Terri Abney as Faith Greenleaf, Mae and Bishop's late daughter and third-born child, who dies before first episode.
- Gary Weeks as Adrian Miller
- Jen Harper as Deacon Connie Sykes, Lady Mae's arch-frenemy and longtime member of the Deacon Board with a love/hate relationship toward the Bishop
- Roxzane T. Mims as Darlene, the second secretary whose daughter Vida was one of Mac’s rape victims.
- Njema Williams as Pastor Thomas Sneed
- Parnell Damone Marcano as Carlton Cruise Calvary's choir director. He was terminated by the church due to budget cuts, but he believes it was because of his open homosexual engagement to his fiancé. He was later reinstated by the Bishop.
- Karan Kendrick as Wanda, Charity's confidante and assistant in the Ministry of Music.(Seasons 1-2)
- Avis-Marie Barnes as Misty Williams, a deacon board member who often disagrees with Bishop along with her husband, Fred
- L. Warren Young as Fred Williams, a deacon board member who often disagrees with Bishop along with his wife, Misty
- Carlacia Grant as Danielle Turner, a girl who was one of Mac's rape victims, and after becoming pregnant had an abortion that Mac secretly paid for.
- Deji LaRay as David Nelson, a cop who seeks spiritual help at Calvary in the wake of a police-brutality protest against him. He is killed in the Season 1 by the brother of the guy he had shot down.
- Xavier Charles as Morris Davis
- Zachary S. Williams as William
- Chevonne Hughes as Karine Jackson
- Jason Dirden as Basie Skanks, a pastor of Greenleaf's rival church Triumph who is a thorn in the side of the Bishop
- Roshon Fegan as Isaiah Hambrick, Zora's ex-boyfriend, a rising young Christian singing bad boy from Triumph that is abusive to Zora both verbally and physically, and is a thorn in the side of Sophia 
- Sean Dominic as Martin Jabari Johnson, a record producer hired by Charity to produce Calvary's new album and Charity's former love interest.
- William H. Bryant as Aaron Jeffries, a lawyer hired by Cavalry and partner of the now divorced Kevin, Charity's former husband. In the third season, it is revealed that he is Grace's half-brother. His relationship with his father, Lionel, was severed after coming out to him in Season 2
- Tim Reid as Lionel Jeffries, Aaron's father and the Bishop's friend, who once shared an intimate past with Lady Mae. The third season reveals Lionel to be Grace's biological father
- Antonio J. Bell as Roberto Calloway, Sophia's boyfriend who shares the same religious belief as her and deeply cares for her
- Asia'h Epperson as Tasha Skanks, wife of Basie Skanks and rival of Kerissa and Lady Mae.
- LeToya Luckett as Rochelle Cross/Rochelle James, a woman who is placed into Calvary as a member. She works as a private investigator. She is a thorn to Lady Mae and Grace when she starts getting close to the Bishop. She is the half-sister of Basie and half sister-in-law of Tasha. The three are secretly working together to destroy the Greenleafs and their churches
- Patti LaBelle as Maxine Patterson, a famous Christian motivational speaker and the CEO of a global Christian self-help empire. She is also an old friend of Lady Mae's from college. She appears to comfort Mae as she divorces Bishop. (season 3).
- Richard Gant as Percy Lee, the Bishop's old friend from college. He is the owner of a funeral home. He appears to comfort James as he and Mae quarrel. (season 3)
|48th NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Lynn Whitfield||Nominated|
|Gracie Awards||Actress in a Supporting Role - Drama||Lynn Whitfield||Won|
|49th NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Drama Series||Greenleaf||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Lynn Whitfield||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series||Erica L. Anderson (for "The Bear")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Gospel/Christian Album (Traditional or Contemporary)||Greenleaf Soundtrack Volume 2||Won|
|50th NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Actor in a Dramatic Series||Keith David||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Lynn Whitfield||Won|
|Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation||Greenleaf, Season 3 (Music from the Original TV Series)||Nominated|
The first season of Greenleaf has received positive reviews from critics, particularly praised acting performances of series lead actress Merle Dandridge, as well as Lynn Whitfield and Keith David. On Rotten Tomatoes, has a rating of 79%, based on 18 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site consensus: "Immersed in a unique megachurch setting, Greenleaf is a juicy family soap bolstered by a provocative spirituality." Metacritic gave season one of the show a score of 68 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Maureen Ryan, television critic for Variety stated "Dandridge is naturalistic in her portrayal of a practical, cautious woman re-examining her family history and her own choices and mistakes, while Whitfield has the imperious aura of a grand soap opera diva in the tradition of Joan Collins." Daniel Fienberg from The Hollywood Reporter wrote in his review "effectively balance the melodrama, vast ensemble and church details and contribute a level of technical proficiency that goes far beyond what the Tyler Perry Factory brings to The Haves and the Have Nots, OWN's big scripted hit." The Boston Globe's Matthew Gilbert compared Greenleaf with primetime soaps like Revenge and the similarly black-cast Empire.
Greenleaf has received positive reviews from critics, with most praising Dandridge, Whitfield and David's performances. The series premiere drew 3.04 million viewers, making it the No. 1 series debut in OWN history. On April 21, 2016, the series was renewed for a second season ahead of its television premiere. The second season premiered on March 15, 2017. On August 7, 2017, the series was renewed for a third season. The third season premiered in a two-episode special on August 28 and August 29, 2018. On September 19, 2018, the series was renewed for a fourth season.
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