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Meet the cast of Ava DuVernay’s 'When They See Us,' formerly 'Central Park Five'

The notorious case will come to life on Netflix this May.

Trailer: 'When They See Us,' Netflix's limited series about the Central Park Five

Netflix's "When They See Us," about the Central Park Five, hits the streaming service on May 31. (Credit: Netflix)

The notorious case of five teens from Harlem wrongly convicted of rape will be brought to life in a limited Netflix series this spring.

The Ava DuVernay-created series, previously titled “Central Park Five," will hit the streaming site May 31, as "When They See Us." 

"Not thugs. Not wilding. Not criminals. Not even the Central Park Five. They are Korey, Antron, Raymond, Yusef, Kevin," director DuVernay tweeted Friday. "They are millions of young people of color who are blamed, judged and accused on sight. May 31. A film in four parts about who they really are. WHEN THEY SEE US."

The series will focus on the five teens — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise — who were convicted in the 1989 Central Park attack of jogger Trisha Meili, giving those once deemed guilty a chance to share their stories.

​“The story of the men known as Central Park Five has riveted me for more than two decades,” DuVernay, of “A Wrinkle in Time” and “13th,” said in a statement. “In their journey, we witness five innocent young men of color who were met with injustice at every turn — from coerced confessions to unjust incarceration to public calls for their execution by the man who would go on to be the President of the United States."

“When They See Us” will approach the case from a variety of angles and time periods, including the 1989 questioning, their time behind bars, President Donald Trump’s 1989 newspaper ad calling for their execution, and the 2014 settlement that eventually cleared their names.

Here's who's been tapped to appear in DuVernay's series. 

Portraying the five

Yusef Salaam

Chris Chalk, who has a hefty resume that includes film (“12 Years a Slave”) and TV (“The Newsroom,” “Gotham”) has signed on to portray the elder version. Cast as the younger Yusef, Ethan Herisse has appeared in episodes of “Key and Peele” and the “About a Boy” series.

Kevin Richardson

Newcomers Justin Cunningham and Asante Blackk are the elder and younger Richardson, respectively.

Anton McCray

Jovan Adepo (“The Leftovers”) portrays the older counterpart to Caleel Harris’ young McCray. Harris is most recently known for his turn as the child Henry Deaver in “Castle Rock.”

Raymond Santana, Jr.

Relative newcomer Freddy Miyares plays adult Santana, Jr., while Marquis Rodriguez, who has been acting for more than a decade (“Luke Cage,” “Chicago Fire”) is his younger counterpart.

Korey Wise

Jharrel Jerome (“Moonlight”) does double duty as both the young and older defendant.

Family members

Bobby McCray

Flatbush-born actor Michael K. Williams, who’s appeared in series including “Boardwalk Empire” and, most recently, “Hap and Leonard,” is cast as Anton McCray’s dad.

Raymond Santana Sr.

John Leguizamo (“Bloodline”) has also signed on to play the father of one of the teens.

Delores Wise

Korey Wise’s mother is Niecy Nash (“Claws,” “Scream Queens”).

Courtroom players

Elizabeth Lederer

Vera Farminga, of “Bates Motel” fame, will portray the Manhattan assistant district attorney.

Linda Fairstein

Felicity Huffman (“American Crime,” “Desperate Housewives”) is Fairstein, who was leading the sex crimes unit at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office at the time of the case.

Joshua Jackson

“The Affair” and former “Dawson’s Creek” actor Joshua Jackson will portray McCray’s lawyer.

William Sadler

Known best in the role of Colonel Stuart in “Sie Hard 2,” Sadler’s career spans decades. His most recent TV appearances include “Power” and “Our Cartoon President.” He’s been tapped to portray one of the NYPD detectives looking into the case of the Central Park Five.

Christopher Jackson

Jackson, of the Off-Broadway musical “Time and the Wind,” will appear as Santana’s lawyer, Peter Rivera.


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