‘Mea Culpa’ Cast and Character Guide: Who’s Who in Tyler Perry’s Legal Thriller?

The film is now streaming on Netflix

"Mea Culpa" (Netflix)
"Mea Culpa" (Netflix)

Tyler Perry’s latest romantic thriller “Mea Culpa” is the latest project to come from the writer, director and producer, and it follows a defense attorney who juggles a dangerous love connection with a man accused of murdering his girlfriend.

“Mea Culpa” comes in as Perry’s fifth project with Netflix as part of his multi-year first-look film deal that was announced in 2023. Kelly Rowland takes the lead in the new Netflix feature, which dropped on the streaming giant on Friday.

Perry said his love for 90s thrillers was the inspiration behind “Mea Culpa,” and added that Rowland was fully committed to her role as Mea from the beginning to the end of the film’s production.

“I love all of those older thrillers from the ’80s and ’90s, and I just remember how much my mom enjoyed them and would make me watch them,” Perry explained in an interview with Netflix. “Those stories were so rich and had so much flavor and so many twists and turns. So I wanted to throw back to some of those days.”

He said Rowland was “100% invested” in her performance.

“I knew she was creative. I knew she was talented. I know she’s a great singer and artist, but for her to take all of that art and bring it directly to the film was really fantastic…. As an actress, she is 100% invested. She’s there. Once we established the trust between director and actor, she gave it her all.”

Here’s our complete “Mea Culpa” cast and character guide.

Kelly Rowland in "Mea Culpa" (Netflix)
Kelly Rowland in “Mea Culpa” (Netflix)

Mea Harper (Kelly Rowland)

Grammy award-winning singer Kelly Rowland stars as the film’s star Mea Harper, a sharp and savvy defense attorney who takes on the case of an artist named Zyair, wh0 is accused of murdering his girlfriend. While Mea has always kept it strictly business when it comes to her clients, she just can’t seem to stay focused as her relationship with Zyair turns risky.

Fans know her as the “Motivation” songstress, but she’s made her mark in cinema, having starred in several projects, including “Fantasy Football,” Bad Hair,” “Think Like a Man” and more.

Trevante Rhodes in "Mea Culpa" (Netflix)
Trevante Rhodes in “Mea Culpa” (Netflix)

Zyair Malloy (Trevante Rhodes)

Trevante Rhodes plays Mea Harper’s client Zyair, who is on trial for the murder of his girlfriend. He maintains his innocence and eventually wins the attention of Mea despite the professional conflict of interest.

Rhodes’ breakout role was in the Oscar-winning film “Moonlight.” Following the blockbuster film, he starred in “Mike,” “Bird Box,” “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” and several other movies.

Nick Sagar in "Mea Culpa" (Netflix)
Nick Sagar in “Mea Culpa” (Netflix)

Ray (Nick Sagar)

Nick Sagar — who is working alongside his real-life brother, Sean Sagar, in the film — is Ray in “Mea Culpa,” an Assistant District Attorney who has hopes of becoming mayor. He’s been assigned to Zyair’s case and wants to succeed in proving him guilty in order to boost his chances of being elected.

Some of Sagar’s most notable roles include “The Haves and the Have Nots” and “Queen of the South”

Sean Sagar in "Mea Culpa" (Netflix)
Sean Sagar in “Mea Culpa” (Netflix)

Kal (Sean Sagar)

Sean Sagar stars as Kal, Ray’s unemployed brother, who hasn’t shared with his family that he’s out of a job.

Some of Sagar’s previous work was in “NCIS: Sydney, “Blue Story,” and “Top Boy.”

RonReaco Lee (Getty Images)
RonReaco Lee (Getty Images)

Jimmy (RonReaco Lee)

RonReaco Lee comes in as Jimmy, a private investigator Mea hired to help track down where the truth lies in Zyair’s case.

Lee has been in the acting game for over 20 years, starring in TV shows and films, including “Sister, Sister,” “Running Out Of Time,” “Guess Who” and more.

Shannon Thornton (Getty Images)
Shannon Thornton (Getty Images)

Charlise (Shannon Thorton)

Shannon Thorton plays Ray’s wife Charlise. She’s loyal to her husband and his mission to beat Mea in court over Zyair’s case, but shares a friendly-like relationship with Mea.

Thorton is best known for her as Kayshawn. Prior to “Mea Culpa,” she starred in “Rise” and “Dynasty.”


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