‘UnPrisoned’ Creator Tracy McMillan Breaks Down Series Finale, Shares Storyline Ideas for a Season 2

“We scratched the surface. There’s way more there,” McMillan tells TheWrap

Tracy McMillan (Getty Images), "UnPrisoned" (Hulu)
Tracy McMillan (Getty Images), "UnPrisoned" (Hulu)

“UnPrisoned” creator and executive producer Tracy McMillan says she’s happy with the outcome of her dramedy, and tells TheWrap that she already has storyline ideas for a second season. 

“I’m really pleased with where we ended up and where we took these characters,” McMillan said. “I’m excited to see where we go next. I feel like we really told a story about a family trying to put itself back together again and we told it with a lot of heart and a lot of humor.”

The Onyx Collective-Hulu original series dropped all its eight episodes on Hulu on March 10, and it is now Onyx’s most-watched Hulu premiere to date, as well as the most-watched Hulu Original scripted series thus far this year, as far as hours watched, according to Onyx. 

“UnPrisoned” — which is based on McMillan’s life — follows Paige (Kerry Washington), a relationship therapist, who has a passion for perfection. But her life gets slightly thrown off when her father — who is continuously in and out of prison — reenters her life after being released from incarceration. During the season, the series captures her turbulent relationship with her step-mother, her son Finn’s (Faly Rakotohavana) desire to explore his Blackness and the systemic racism within the U.S. prison system and how it disproportionally targets Black men and jeopardizes their transition back into everyday society. 

The season ends with Mal (Marque Richardson) bailing Edwin (Delroy Lindo) out of jail after he was wrongly arrested while driving home with Finn, which leads to Mal and Edwin having a conversation about how Edwin’s criminal past and poor behavior has emotionally and mentally damaged Paige. Ultimately, Edwin to take responsibility for himself and decides to move out of his daughter’s home to lead a life on his own. 

“I felt like it was a really poignant ending, and I’m happy with it,” McMillan said, reflecting on the season and its final episode. “[Edwin] knows that as long as the roles are reversed, where his daughter is more like the parent and he’s more like the child, it’s not going to work. So in any parent child relationship, those dynamics need to be very clear, and the way power operates between the parent and child has to be very clear. I feel like he’s the one who is trying to make things right in the end by not living with her, at least for the time being.”

There’s no word yet on whether the series will come back for a second season, but McMillan already knows where she’d like the characters’ stories to go. 

“I think we need to hear more about Paige’s mom. I think Finn is awakened to wanting to know more about his dad,” McMillan said. “We’re gonna keep exploring the family, we had eight episodes — we scratched the surface. There’s way more there. I want to see what Edwin decides to do with this new autonomy; he’s sticking up for himself. I want to see what Finn does, I think he’s going to be impacted by what happens toward the end of the season. I also want to see how Paige expands because she’s really taken some big risks toward the end of the season, and those are going to pay off for her professionally. I also want to see what she does with her love life, I think she’s going to probably go into a period of experimentation and exploration before she finds the place that she really is supposed to be for the rest of her life. Like, her forever home in terms of a relationship. And I say this, because that’s been my journey.”

“UnPrisoned” stars Washington, Lindo, Rakotohavana, Richardson, Jee Young Han and Jordyn McIntosh. Yvette Lee Bowser serves as showrunner, and as executive producer alongside McMillan, Washington, Lindo, Pilar Savone, Joy Gorman Wettels and Jen Braeden.