Netflix has released the first teaser for Ava DuVernay‘s When They See Us, a limited series about the arrest, conviction, and exoneration of the Central Park Five. 

When They See Us is based on the true story about five teenagers of colour – dubbed the Central Park Five by the media – who were wrongly convicted of beating and raping a white female jogger in Central Park in 1989. The series begins as the teenagers – Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise – were first questioned about the incident.

The four-part limited series will span 25 years up to their exoneration in 2002 and the settlement reached in 2014.

In December of 2002, DNA evidence found the woman had been raped and beaten by another man, Matias Reyes, who confessed to the crime and said he committed it alone.

When They See Us was originally titled Central Park Five but was switched to the former title to embrace the “the humanity of the men and not their politicised moniker.” 

“In 2019, our series gives the five men a platform to finally raise their voices and tell their full stories,” DuVernay said in a statement. “In doing so, Korey, Antron, Raymond, Kevin and Yusef also tell the story of many young people of colour unjustly ensnared in the criminal justice system. We wanted to reflect this perspective in our title, embracing the humanity of the men and not their politicised moniker.”

The series was created by DuVernay, who also co-wrote and directed the episodes.

Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Skoll, Jane Rosenthal, and Berry Welsh all served as executive producers alongside DuVernay.

The all-star cast includes Emmy Award Nominee Michael K. Williams, Academy Award Nominee Vera Farmiga, Emmy Award Winner John Leguizamo, Emmy Award Winner Felicity Huffman, Emmy Award Winner Blair Underwood, Grammy Award Winner Christopher Jackson, and Emmy award Nominee Niecy Nash. 

On TwitterDuVernay introduced the trailer with the words: “Not thugs. Not wilding. Not criminals. Not even the Central Park Five. They are Korey, Antron, Raymond, Yusef, Kevin. They are millions of young people of colour who are blamed, judged and accused on sight. May 31. A film in four parts about who they really are. WHEN THEY SEE US.”

When They See Us will premiere on Netflix, May 31. 

Netflix’s See What’s Next page also shared a number of haunting photos from the series.

Image: Netflix