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Abigail Spencer and Mark Johnson Discuss Amantha For 'Rectify' Season Two

Poonam Patel Poonam Patel
June 19th, 2014 12:30pm EDT

Rectify

Sundance TV’s “Rectify” returns for season 2 today (June 19) after a little over a year. If the season 2 promos are any indication to the forthcoming season, then the fans are in for a dramatic 10 episode run.

If you are new to the show, don’t fret because we can catch you up. And no, we won’t be giving away any spoilers. Just that season 1 centers around Daniel Holden (Aden Young), and the people he interacts with. Daniel, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, has spent half of his life on death row at the show opener. He is released from prison in the first episode and must deal with his family and what the townspeople think of him, with some being against his release.  “As much as the senator and some of our proposed antagonists have their own agendas, the people in the family have their own agendas too … This self-preservation that is igniting in each person, that I think Daniel’s existence in being out, kind of flares up in each one,”  Abigail Spencer, Daniel’s sister Amantha on the show, says. The entire season 1 is the first 6 days Holden spends post jail time.

Season 1 was left off with a big cliffhanger, by which Amantha had already became a focal point of the quite southern and quite dark storyline. Amantha is there to kickoff season 2, and Spencer has much to say about her character. After all, who knows Amantha better than Spencer? No one seeing as Spencer’s connection to Amantha acquired her a nomination for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Drama Supporting Actress.

Abigail Spencer and Mark Johnson, Executive Producer of the show, sat down with Starpulse at the  2014 ATX Television Festival to converse on Amantha and her relationship with Daniel. Do they reveal if Daniel is guilty or not in murdering his girlfriend? No! That would spoil the entire series. But if you really want the answer … watching season 2 might just do the trick.

During season one, you said in an interview that Amantha really needed to find her identity even though, as viewers, we saw that she was very strong and powerful. By now or in season two, does she discover herself more of who she is and what she is capable of doing?

Spencer: I think that season two is the space between that. It’s the bridge, hopefully. Amantha’s going to be very tested in that area because Daniel is a human being who unfortunately in this situation has choice in Amantha’s opinion, and he has to be able to choose things now. It’s his decision. It’s not Amantha, as much as she’d like to but she can’t be his protector and keeper. I mean she says I am my brother’s keeper in episode two. I think she says it with irony as she always does, but I think she actually believes that. So we are going to see Amantha really get challenged on who am I when I don’t wake up every day and that’s my soul purpose is to get Daniel out.

(And then Johnson plays press) Where would she be if this whole thing hadn't, wasn't, if Daniel were just off living his life? I mean this has become her life. It runs everything. It brings her back to this town. What would she be doing? I mean clearly it fills this huge void.

Spencer: I think about it. I also come from a pretty small town, not too far from where we shoot the show. I think, I had really big dreams of grandeur growing up, and I moved to New York when I was 17. I actually think there is a similar thread. I think she would have gone to New York. I think she would have to college. I think maybe she would have gone into law, if not found her way into something where she could fight the system on some level. I think she really would have become very successful because the fact that she put all that energy into Daniel, and he got out. The thing happened. This impossible thing that everyone else gave up on that I, you know, maybe even because her father died of a heart attack too, who was on her side. It was like her and her dad, some back story that we talk about that I don’t know if it filters through or not in the cuts. But that they worked together, and when he passed on, you know, this case killed people like Hal Holbrook's character. He said got cancer fighting these things. It really can destroy people, and it didn't destroy Amantha.

Johnson: Is she in any way resentful or sorry that he got out? Because she's now sort of accomplished what she set out to do, and now what does she do?

Spencer: I think that’s part of the journey that we will definitely see is being challenged of her blind faith and care. I felt it playing her, and I see it in the storylines. She really gets tested, between Daniel and Amantha, and of his gratitude. If he understands what her life was like. If she’s thought about it.

Rectify 2

What do you think drove Amantha to dedicate her life in getting Daniel out of prison?

Spencer: There is this deep, interconnected, woven tapestry between her and Daniel. They are cut from the same cloth, as different as they are. I mean, he's the older brother. I totally adored and admired my older brother growing up. He was my hero.

Johnson: But he hasn't been around. You haven’t seen him in 18 years. So how can he still be your hero?

Spencer: I think it’s the projection. It is the idea. Now it's become her identity, not knowing who she is without it. I think it's just part of who Amantha is. It’s just part of her DNA, to fight to the death. To the freedom and not give up, to not lose hope. Some people come out that way, and I think she is one of these people.

Photo Credits: Photo courtesy of Poonam Patel; Sundance TV