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“Rectify”: Off death row, but not quite free

“Rectify,” the excellent and patient new drama that begins tonight on the Sundance Channel, is about a man just freed from death row. At 18, Daniel Holden, an odd boy from a small Georgia town, was found cradling the bloody, raped corpse of a girl he went to high school with. He was arrested and confessed to the crime. A friend testified to having witnessed both the rape and the murder. He was convicted and placed on death row. His sister, years younger than him, continued to sit in math class with the murdered girl’s brother. Twenty years later, as “Rectify” begins, Daniel (Aden Young, who looks not unlike Damien Echols) is set free by DNA evidence proving he was not the rapist. Daniel has spent his entire adult life in a small cell and he comes back into the world, to the town he grew up in, like a newborn, but not an innocent.

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