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The unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family and their sprawling Memphis megachurch, dark secrets and lies.


Craig Wright
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Series cast summary:
Merle Dandridge ...  Grace Greenleaf 47 episodes, 2016-2019
Desiree Ross ...  Sophia Greenleaf 47 episodes, 2016-2019
Kim Hawthorne ...  Kerissa Greenleaf 44 episodes, 2016-2018
Lamman Rucker ...  Jacob Greenleaf 44 episodes, 2016-2018
Tye White ...  Kevin Satterlee 44 episodes, 2016-2018
Lynn Whitfield ...  Lady Mae Greenleaf 44 episodes, 2016-2018
Lovie Simone ...  Zora Greenleaf 44 episodes, 2016-2018
Deborah Joy Winans ...  Charity Greenleaf-Satterlee 44 episodes, 2016-2018
Keith David ...  Bishop James Greenleaf 44 episodes, 2016-2018
Chevonne Hughes ...  Karine / ... 30 episodes, 2016-2018
Gregory Alan Williams ...  Robert 'Mac' McCready / ... 28 episodes, 2016-2018
Rick Fox ...  Darius Nash 26 episodes, 2017-2018
Asia'h Epperson ...  Tasha Skanks 26 episodes, 2016-2018
Jason Dirden ...  Basie Skanks 20 episodes, 2016-2018
Jen Harper ...  Deacon Sykes 19 episodes, 2016-2018


The unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family and their sprawling Memphis megachurch, dark secrets and lies.

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A Kingdom Divided See more »




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Release Date:

21 June 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Greenleaf See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lionsgate See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Lynn Whitfield and Keith David both appear in the movie "Head of State." See more »


Referenced in Talking Dead: People Like Us (2018) See more »

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User Reviews

Behind-the-Scenes of a Church Family Who Doesn't Always Practice What It Preaches
7 September 2017 | by classicalsteveSee all my reviews

If you regularly attend church, you can receive spiritual healing, confess sins, and be in communion with God or at least perceive that this is happening. The clergy of the church facilitate your spiritual and religious needs and also acts as instructors, telling you, the congregants, what is right and wrong, sometimes claiming their advice is from Heaven. The clergy of the church, almost regardless of the denomination, is there to support the church members and potential converts. However, what about those people who play the role of the clergy? Who offers pastors, bishops and the like the spiritual guidance they may need? And what if the people performing those duties are in some ways compromising what they're telling others? Are they practicing what they're preaching?

"Greenleaf", a relatively new television/cable series, focuses on a predominantly African-American Protestant Church called The Calvary Fellowship. The grand Pooh-Bah is Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David), the most inspirational figure of the church during services particularly with his resonant but kindly voice. However, behind the scenes, the bishop has many personal problems and even hints of flaws in character. His wife and "first lady" of the church is Lady Mae Greenleaf (Lynn Whitfield) who is the unofficial matriarch. Although her husband runs the church, she runs the Greenleaf family so-to-speak. Most of the family are involved with church duties, helping out at services, conducting teaching programs (i.e. Sunday School) and even planning events. Because their church and congregation are very large, the family lives very well. Servants are constantly in attendance at the Greenleaf household. In other words, if you're a member of the Greenleaf family, you'll live in the upper middle-class, but the price you pay is you're going to be integral to the operations of the church. Else, you may have to get out of Dodge as did their wayward daughter, Grace.

The series begins when the Bishop's estranged daughter Grace Greenleaf decides to return to the family after 20 years of self-imposed exile. We learn that she had been a preacher for the church but decided to end her clerical life and live among secular culture. We also learn that James Greenleaf had designs for her daughter possibly to succeed him as the main voice of the church during services. She has returned to the family and to the church but at the beginning of the story she has no intention of standing at the pulpit and making grand religious-biblical pronouncements as she had 20 years earlier. Even before she's stepped back into their house, Lady Mae tells Grace "not to cause trouble for their family". Zing. We know this reunion of Grace with the Greenleaf family is going to cause trouble. Of course if there wasn't trouble, there wouldn't be a show!

At first Grace just agrees to answer phones at the church offices as the first voice heard by either church members or potential converts. When a grandmother enters her office asking that her granddaughter be baptized (without it seems permission of the mother or father), Grace decides to take the role she vowed she wouldn't play. She dons a white robe and performs the ceremony. This story may be about how Grace begins to rediscover and play the role she left 20 years earlier.

As the series unfolds, we learn there are many hypocrisies surrounding the Greenleaf family. Grace is not the only estranged family member. Mavis McCready (Oprah Winfrey) is an alcoholic lush and Lady Mae's estranged sister. She resides a ways away from the family, and they seem to disown her. Other skeletons lurk in the closet, some of whose bones begin to rattle. We learn about a child molestation case involving one of the parishoners which has been conveniently swept under the proverbial church carpets. Also, a senator is investigating churches and other faith-based entities who enjoy the privilege of not-for-profit status. The senator asks for their financial records, and after he has taken his leave, Bishop Greenleaf makes it clear he has no intention of revealing any church records. I am guessing this will have further implications in the future of the series.

A wonderful beginning to a masterful series. I think the main point of the story is that trying to juggle the problems of everyday life while maintaining a facade of "purity" may be too much for any family to accomplish. Consider the Bakkers of "Praise the Lord" who seemed wholesome until it was revealed they were engaging in fraudulent business practices. In the present series, we believe in the Greenleaf characters and their plights and their need to project an unstained veneer. The acting is outstanding, particularly David as the Bishop, Whitfield as the "first lady" and Dandridge as Grace. Honorable mention to Winfrey, playing against type as an alcoholic, the kind of character who might end up on Dr. Phil! While some of the situations might be perceived as melodramatic, other issues are dealt with, such as homosexuality, interracial sex, and even infidelity. For a family which is supposed to be holier than the congregation they serve, they seem to be digging some fairly large holes!

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