Created by Josh Corbin and executive produced by The Handmaid’s Tale‘s Warren Littlefield, Hulu’s Reprisal follows Doris, a relentless femme fatale who, after being left for dead, leads a vengeful campaign against a bombastic gang of gearheads. The hyper-noir drama, like many series as of late, blurs the lines of good and evil — but Reprisal takes that on from a different angle.
Corbin and Littlefield were joined on the TCA stage Friday by series stars Abigail Spencer, Mena Massoud, Rhys Wakefield and Rodrigo Santoro to talk about how Hulu’s new series tackles the age-old debate of what’s right and what’s wrong.
“I think the difference between good and evil is a blurred line,” said Corbin, who also serves as showrunner and executive producer. “I want the audience to ask themselves, ‘I don’t know how I feel about that’.”
Massoud, who plays Ethan on the show, adds, “As you watch the show, your opinion on who’s good and evil might change.”
When it comes to good vs. evil, Wakefield, who plays Matty, said that the moral ambiguity is what makes the show textured. He points out that the characters are unified by a trauma and “it drives them to do these unpredictable things to get what they want. They believe in their actions.”
Stepping into the role of the femme fatale Doris is Spencer, who said that the show has created this new “genre of ambiguity” which not only adds another layer of interest to the narrative but also fuels the tone and the story.
Corbin remarks that when entering the show, you don’t know “when they are” as the characters attempt to reckon with their pasts, but it still has fun with 20th century pop culture, giving a sense of when they are but keeping it ambiguous. Littlefield said this ambiguity further informs the characters and “enhances the experience.”
Considering Doris is out for revenge, the show doesn’t shy away from violence. Littlefield describes the series as a graphic novel and that the story takes place in a violent world. “It’s a male-controlled world and it is a story of Doris saying ‘enough’,” he said. In turn, Doris rises up and “takes the world apart,” making for a compelling and entertaining story.
For Spencer, she was more than willing to step into a role that does things normally reserved for men on TV series. “I feel like Doris is kind of harnessing all of the energy of the planet of feminist rage and bringing that forward,” she said. “I feel so honored to be a container for that.”
All 10 episodes of Reprisal debut December 6 on Hulu.