‘UnPrisoned’ addresses childhood trauma

“UnPrisoned” pairs Delroy Lindo, who plays Edwin Alexander, and Kerry Washington, who plays Paige Alexander, as a father and daughter duo. In the TV show, Paige allowed her father to move in with her after being incarcerated for over a decade. (courtesy of Google Images)

During a long plane ride, I watched “UnPrisoned,” created by Tracy McMillian. The creator of the show wrote it based on her own life experiences, which makes it feel very real when watching the TV show.

I was captivated by the relationships that I could reflect on in my own life. The TV show touches base on a topic that many can relate to, a father who is in and out of the criminal justice system and a daughter who could not get the relationship with her father because of it.

Paige Alexander (Kerry Washington) is a therapist and single mother. She is always sharing her life with her followers through Instagram Live while also giving life lessons. Making decisions can be difficult even though she is a therapist. Paige still struggles with figuring out her own internal self.

The show starts with Paige being reunited with her father who was incarcerated for over a decade. This has put a wedge between their relationship and caused major damage to Paige’s childhood that still affects her to this day. Her father, Edwin Alexander (Delroy Lindo), expresses how he plans to not go back behind bars and wants Paige to have faith in him. It’s hard for her to believe anything he is saying because he has used those words multiple times when she was younger.

During the show, the viewer learns that Paige speaks to the childhood version of herself (Jordyn McIntosh) through her difficult times. It gives Paige time to reflect on how this moment may have triggered something from her childhood. She acknowledges that she is enduring a process of healing and wants better for her own son, Finn (Faly Rakotohavana). Not only does she have previous experience with her father who was incarcerated, but she also must teach her son what it means to be seen as a biracial male.

“UnPrisoned” resonated with me because it hit close to home. I personally do not have a relationship with my father who had problems with the criminal justice system when I was younger as well. I wish I could have a better relationship with him. I have tried connecting with my father after being incarcerated or even forgiving him. It has failed so many times that I do not know what else to do without actually doing more harm than good to our relationship.

Paige is allowing herself to see her father’s childhood trauma and why it may have led him to the decisions that he made. “UnPrisoned” emphasizes Edwins’s vulnerability at a young age and how that has affected his current life.

In one episode, Paige, Edwin and Finn visit her father’s hometown in search of his birth certificate. This brings back old memories for Edwin and reveals his childhood self (Ca’Ron Jaden Coleman) and Paige sees how his upbringing was traumatic in its own sense. Young Edwin is very scared and alone, which is something older Edwin never gives off. This may lead to Paige really understanding her father and why he made the decisions he has made in his life.

The show left me wondering what I could do to help my childhood version of myself. “UnPrisoned” does a great job at making a very touchy subject funny but also sad. I cried a little when watching this on a plane with others. Paige did something most people cannot, and that’s allowing herself to forgive her father.

I won’t spoil the show for you, but at the end of the season you may feel like she made the right decision or the wrong.

Watch the first season of  ‘Unprisoned’ on Hulu.


Edited by Aja Carter and Tiana Smith