- 2 Seasons
Underground is a gripping, historical drama television series that aired from 2016-2017 on WGN America. The series is set in the 19th century and traces the journey of a group of slaves as they plan and execute an escape from their plantation. The main character, Noah (played by Aldis Hodge), is a skilled blacksmith who manages to take advantage of his position on the plantation in order to secretly organize a group of slaves who are willing to risk everything for their freedom. His plan is to form an underground railroad, which will lead them all the way to the north where they will be free from slavery.
Cato (played by Alano Miller) is one of the more complex characters in the show. Initially, he is a loyal slave who is more focused on being obedient and doing his mission. He is fiercely intelligent and calculating and knows how to work the plantation's system to his advantage. With the urge to escape growing and the harsh treatment of plantation life starting to take its toll, Cato's views start to shift too over time. His character's arc progresses over the show, and reveals much about how the brutalities of slavery can change someone.
August (played by Christopher Meloni) is the slave catcher; his job is to ensure that no slave evades. However, his problematic approach to his job is also shown in the series. August is a sobering look at the ways slavery has turned the owner against the owned. He is a reflection of how hated slavery was in its final days but he also despises the growing abolitionist movement from the North who he believes are unaccountable and heartless.
Rosalee (played by Jurnee Smollett) is a brave and determined young slave who joins Noah's group for the escape. She is the show's driving force to show how devastating slavery was to women. Her character is a strong representation of women of color and women in general throughout time periods who are fighting for freedom, intersecting with white supremacy, and oppression.
Elizabeth (played by Jessica De Gouw) is a plantation ownerâs wife, who is battling with her own demons of how slavery has tainted her. She develops a bond with Rosalee, and her character too takes a lot from the show in many ways. Her character is a great example of how people living in the South could reconcile enslavement with their own humanity and how society blinds people in that system.
John Hawkes (played by Marc Blucas) is a lawyer who becomes invested in the underground railroad; his role later becomes more significant in the second season. Tom Macon (played by Reed Diamond) is the cruel and wealthy owner of the plantation.
The show takes the viewers on an emotional ride through the hardships that slaves had to endure on a daily basis. The series is sobering, and it showcases the brutality of slavery in a way that most viewers have not seen before. The series is incredibly well-crafted, with stunning visuals, top-notch performances by a talented cast, and an intense, enthralling storyline that hooks the viewers from the first episode. Underground's blend of history, drama, and action makes it a unique and unforgettable show, which must be seen by everyone.
Underground is a series that is currently running and has 2 seasons (20 episodes). The series first aired on March 9, 2016.