10.03.2023 / 17:41
Hulu’s ‘UnPrisoned’ Tells a Post-Prison Family Story With Genuine Heart: TV Review
Daniel D'Addario Chief TV Critic As a performer, Kerry Washington is particularly adept at conveying uptightness — her crispness of bearing and her rat-a-tat delivery suggest a certain passion for organization, for rigor. This was the ingredient that helped elevate “Scandal,” and the emotionally chaotic but professionally fastidious character of Olivia Pope. (And, incidentally, it’s the aspect that made Washington’s work as a free-spirited artist in “Little Fires Everywhere” ring somewhat false.) Now, on the Hulu sitcom “UnPrisoned,” Washington’s back to the angle that suits her best — and at the heart of a sweetly intended show of disarming quality. Here, Washington plays Paige, a relationship therapist whom viewers may not be shocked to learn hasn’t quite got herself figured out. Her tendency to dispense advice about fixing romantic partnerships (both to her patients and, we see, on social media) rubs up against the fact that she makes poor choices. We learn, gradually, about the role model she’s emulating in her own way: Her father, Edwin, newly released from prison, is at once astoundingly charismatic (no surprise, given that he’s played by Delroy Lindo) and someone with an entangled personal life. He moves in with her and her teenage son (Faly Rakotohavana), kicking off what will be a major reckoning for both parties. Soon enough, Paige’s desire for order — her need to project a sense of having it all together, even as that’s not quite true — becomes an impossibility.