Netflix Is Making A Show About The Central Park Five Controversy

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With shows like Making a Murderer and The Keepers in its library of TV, Netflix has proven that there's an audience for true crime stories. Now, the streaming service has a new project in the works that will follow one of the most controversial cases of crime and punishment in U.S. history. Netflix will tackle the case of the Central Park Five for a limited series to debut in 2019.

Celebrated director Ava DuVernay created the series, and she's also on board as writer and director. The project -- which does not yet have an official name -- will provide a new look at the 1989 case that put five minority teenagers in the spotlight after they were accused of assaulting and raping a jogger in New York's Central Park. The five boys were all convicted of various crimes associated with the brutal assault, and they were imprisoned... until authorities learned that they had been wrongly convicted of the rape years later. The show will follow the events from the 1989 incident to the 2014 court settlement with the city of New York.

The limited series will run for five episodes, according to Deadline. Each episode will focus on one of the five teenagers who were accused of and then imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. The workings of the criminal justice system and the ways that it failed these young men will be examined. Ava DuVernay should be the perfect person to bring this terrible true story to the small screen in a way that is both illuminating and respectful to those who suffered.

This Central Park Five series will not be the first time that Ava DuVernay works with Netflix. She directed the documentary 13th, which scored an Academy Award nomination. Named for the Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that freed slaves and prohibited slavery, 13th was a look at race, justice, and mass incarceration. The Central Park Five series obviously won't be a documentary, but if DuVernay can bring the same touch that she brought to 13th, we can count on a project that's worth watching. Given that 13th was such a critical hit that it got an Oscar nod, it's no surprise that Netflix is willing to give her the room to create, write, and direct a series.

Interestingly, Ava DuVernay has another project in the works at Netflix in addition to the Central Park Five series. She is attached to direct a currently untitled movie that will star Rihanna and Lupita Nyong'o and premiere at some point in 2018. DuVernay will have plenty to keep her busy at the streaming service for the next couple of years.

The Central Park Five series is still likely a couple of years off, but you can catch Ava DuVernay's 13th streaming on Netflix now. Our 2017 Netflix premiere schedule can show your other streaming options, and our summer TV guide can point you in the right direction for broadcast television.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).