Abigail Spencer is happy that everyone’s watching Making a Murderer right now. As the star of SundanceTV’s Rectify, she’s become extremely familiar with the topic of the wrongly accused and the unfair treatment one can have in today's American justice system since the show’s 2013 debut. On the drama, she plays Amantha Holden, the sister of Daniel (Aden Young), a man who sat on Georgia’s death row for 19 years for the murder of his then-teen girlfriend before new DNA evidence exonerated him of his crime. Spencer’s character Amantha always believed in her brother’s innocence.
The similarities between the fictionalized Rectify to the documentary Making a Murderer about Steven Avery’s case, as well as the podcast Serial, are uncanny. And Spencer knows it. “These programs are so interesting because they affirm what Rectify has been exploring,” she told us when we sat down with her during the Sundance Film Festival. “Nothing from our show is based on these cases, but it’s crazy how parallel they are. These programs are the reflection of many cases going on in our country. I hope they shed light on how broken our system is, and help us do something about it.”
And because Rectify is fictionalized, it serves to add to the conversation in a different way. “It humanizes the experience,” Spencer said. "Rectify is a good counterpoint to Making a Murderer. Making a Murderer is facts and figures. You meet people, but you don’t spend time with them. But Rectify is the soul journey. It’s how it has affected these people. You learn by watching Making a Murderer, and on Rectify you get to feel the human experience of what it may have been like.”
Rectify has had three seasons so far, and SundanceTV announced the forthcoming fourth season, due out this fall, will be its last. “Season four might be the best season we ever have,” said Spencer. In the meantime, catch up with Rectify through streaming: The first two seasons are available on Netflix, and the third season is expected to be on the service sometime in 2016.
After its final season, Spencer will have to say goodbye to her character, who has taught her so much. “Through Amantha, I have learned how difficult it can be to be the person who says what no one wants you to say,” she said. “There’s that saying that 99 percent is torture but 100 percent is bliss. Amantha lives in 100 percent.”
“However, there are consequences when you put yourself fully out there,” Spencer added. “But that’s always the better route: to be 100 percent, regardless of the consequences.”