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The HeldenFiles Online

Mixed Notes Friday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: April 19, 2013

The Boston saga is most likely dominating all your thoughts and news interest. I am not at work today because of a family commitment, but have been following the story with continuing amazement.

The discovery of suspects so soon, and the rallying of social media to post the photos. The going to bed with one scenario, then rising to see that one of the suspects was dead and the other on the run. The long periods of conversation about what was known, interrupted by bursts of actual information. And, in previous days, the moments when those bursts were wrong and news organizations had to do some egg-wiping.

And, outside of Boston, the world goes on: people off to work, traffic snarls, games played, shows proceeding. Yet so many of us will seize moments to check the news -- on TV, computer, tablet, phone. because so many of us are never far away from an information source. Does that make us more tense, because we are catching updates, or less so, because we don't have to wait for another cycle of newscasts or publications? (Can you imagine the frenzy around news magazines right now? Not only is there Boston, there's the fertilizer plant story in progress.)

Beyond the Boston story, "American Idol" sent Janelle home last night. Because of my absence from work, Malcolm and I will not be doing a video this week, but Janelle's farewell isn't that surprising. In a group of five talented women, she was the one least capable of a transcedent moment. And even if those moments were rare on Wednesday's performance show -- kind of blah overall -- the other four had moments fresh in the judges' and viewers' memories while Janelle did not. She suffered even more from constant comparisons to Kree (who joined Janelle in the bottom two), since both were "country" with Kree the more interesting performer -- and one who clearly wants to be seen as more than country.

A new Sundance Channel drama, "Rectify," may echo strongly for local viewers.

Premiering at 10 p.m. Monday, the six-part program involves a man, Daniel Holden (played by Aden Young), who has spent 19 years in complete isolation on death row, convicted of a horrible crime. But, as the show begins, Holden is getting out of prison after DNA evidence has overturned his conviction -- although there are people still convinced of his guilt.

This, of course, could remind you of the case of Douglas Prade, who was released from prison in January after serving close to 15 years of a life sentence in prison for the shooting death of his ex-wife — only to have DNA evidence help free him.

"Rectify" creator-writer-director Ray McKinnon has said in press materials for the show that his series “is not based on a true story.” Instead, he has written, it was “inspired by a succession of death sentences being overturned through the introduction of DNA evidence in Illinois a little over a decade ago.”

Instead, the focus is on Holden’s first seven days of freedom — and what it must be like for someone who has been so isolated for long. Indeed, early in the first episode, as Holden gets dressed before release, he does not put on his necktie. It has been so long since he wore one, he has forgotten how to tie it. At the same time he is adjusting, his family is facing a major change; not only have they become accustomed to his imprisonment, some expected him to have been executed long ago, with repeated stays saving him. Yet here is now, among them, and in the world.



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