When They See Us


Based on a true story that gripped the country, When They See Us chronicles the notorious case of five teenagers of color, now known as the Exonerated Five, who were convicted of a rape they did not commit. The four part limited series focuses on the five teenagers from Harlem  — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise. Beginning in the spring of 1989, when the teenagers were first questioned about the incident, the series will span 25 years, highlighting their exoneration in 2002 and the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014.

In partnership with ARRAY, Participant created the first ARRAY 101 learning companion which centers on the Emmy®-winning series. The guide was produced with an eye toward deepening the conversation and impact around social justice themes, inspiring personal action for viewers and innovating within the intersection of education and entertainment. Check it out here.



Participant partnered with Color of Change to launch a new prosecutorial directory to expand their work to end the most unjust, unconstitutional, destructive, and racist practices of prosecutors.  Additionally, in partnership with Array, a learning companion was developed to deepen the conversation and inspire personal action after viewing the series.

The release of When They See Us generated organic pressure on those who supported former prosecutor Linda Fairstein, resulting in her resignation from two nonprofit boards.

Members of the Exonerated Five have gone on to new success in various roles, including Yusuf Salaam’s election to New York City Council.

The series won two Emmys® for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series and Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series. 

A poster for When They See Us
Ava DuVernay
Executive Producers
Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro, Berry Welsh, Oprah Winfrey, and Ava DuVernay
Michael K Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Blair Underwood, Christopher Jackson, Joshua Jackson, Omar J. Dorsey, Adepero Oduye, Famke Janssen, Aurora Perrineau, William Sadler, Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo, Aunjanue Ellis, Kylie Bunbury, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Storm Reif, Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares, Justin Cunningham, Ethan Herisse, Caleel Harris, Marquis Rodriguez, and Asante Blackk
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