The Exonerated is a made-for-cable television film that dramatizes the true stories of six people who have been wrongfully convicted of murder and other offenses, placed on death row, and later exonerated and freed after serving varying years in prison. It was based on a successful stage play of the same name written by Erik Jensen and Jessica Blank and first aired on the former CourtTV cable television network on January 27, 2005. It is directed by Bob Balaban was produced by Radical Media.
Actors played the roles of the five men and one woman. It stars David Brown, Jr. (the only cast member to have appeared in the stage play - he played Robert Earl Hayes), Brian Dennehy as Gary Gauger, Danny Glover as David Keaton, Delroy Lindo as Delbert Tibbs, Aidan Quinn as Kerry Max Cook and Susan Sarandon as Sonia "Sunny" Jacobs. The script was based on the exonerees' personal experiences as well as court records and media accounts.
Jessica Blank, who is married to Erik Jensen, got the idea for the play when she moved from Minneapolis, Minnesota to New York City. She and Jensen attended a conference about the death penalty and listened to stories about wrongful convictions and confessions gained via torture, threats and deception. The couple spent the summer of 2000 interviewing exonerees throughout the United States and adapted the stories of six people into a script.
The play was first presented in New York City; the final performance was in Minneapolis in 2002. For their efforts, Jensen and Blank received the Champion of Justice Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
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Black Reel Awards
Best Actor - Television
Casting Society of America, USA
Best Movie of the Week Casting