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‘Vindication’: A One-Time Opportunity Turned Series Lead for Todd Terry

John FarrellBy John Farrell8 Minutes

When Todd Terry first strolled on to the set of Vindication, a 2015 short film by Jarod O’Flaherty, it was supposed to be a one-time commitment. He would play Detective Gary Travis to Ben Davies’ Derek Taylor. Then he’d be done, and he would move on to other projects.

But, typical of the entertainment industry, it didn’t exactly work out that way. It was much better.

About a year after the short film was taped, Terry was attending a premiere for Vindication when O’Flaherty approached him with an idea: to turn the film into a series with his character as the central figure. It turns out producers wanted more of Detective Travis.

Terry was all-in. Once he had the green light, O’Flaherty just needed to fill out the rest of the cast, including Detective Travis’ wife, daughter, and partner. For those roles, O’Flaherty recruited Peggy Schott as Becky Travis, Emma Elle Roberts as Katie Travis, and Venus Monique as Kris Tanner.

The result? A ten-episode faith-based crime drama series that will make its Inspiration TV premiere on Saturday, May 16 at 9 p.m. EST when the first two episodes air. Two new episodes will air every Saturday at the same time through June 13.

What’s It All About?

The award-winning short film was left untouched and became the series’ first episode. It centered around Detective Travis’ investigation of Taylor for a crime he may or may not have committed. In this episode, Davies has top billing; however, throughout the rest of the first season that spotlight shifts toward Terry’s character.

Vindication is a procedural crime scene drama with similarities to other shows in its genre, such as NCIS, CSI, Blue Bloods, and Law & Order. However, what sets it apart is that it deals with heavy subject matter in a non-gratuitous manner. Although an episode may explore and discuss mature issues such as sex trafficking, stalking, sexting, bullying, and the dangers associated with social media, the show does it tastefully, opting not to display nudity or graphic violence.

Instead of focusing on the gratuitous nature found with most crime scene dramas, according to Terry, “you get invested in the characters and their own personal relationships beyond just the crime scene investigations.”

Because of this, Vindication is something the whole family can watch together and not worry about children seeing something inappropriate.

“I like to tell people you can sit down with your 13-year-old and have conversations with them on the heavy subjects in the show,” Terry explained. “It’s not presented in a way that makes you go, ‘Close your eyes.’ … It’s a great show for people who want to talk about the heavy subjects that go on today.”

The show incorporates flashbacks into each storyline; however, they’re meant to keep audiences guessing. “You’ll see the elements of somebody’s thought, which goes into a flashback, but you don’t know if that actually happened,” added Terry.

As the show’s title suggests, every episode includes a wrongly accused character who is vindicated as the truth is deliberately revealed through the storyline and plot twists. Although each episode focuses on a different real-world issue, the theme of Detective Travis’ struggle with faith is consistent throughout the series. The show doesn’t gloss over the faith element, instead it confronts it head on as Travis’ devout wife lightly encourages him to turn to God in troubling times. His wife, as well as others around him, serve as role models of ardent faith.

“There are a lot of faith-based things out there that are geared toward the church and sometimes can be whitewashed over,” Terry, who is also a realtor in the Dallas-Fort Worth areas, stated during a phone interview. “I don’t think this show does that in a sense that it’s trying to address those without being gratuitous.”

Who Is Detective Gary Travis?

Detective Travis – the only character that appears in all of the first season’s ten episodes – is a twenty-year veteran with the police department in the small town of East Bank, Texas. Travis and his wife, Becky, have a daughter, Katie, who moves back home early on in the series.

The rocky father-daughter relationship that drives a lot of the show’s family drama forward suffers a blow when Katie reveals that she is hiding a dark secret. This secret and other issues in his personal life force Travis to evaluate his life and faith. For a person so stuck in their ways, relinquishing control and putting their faith in someone, even if it is God, is sometimes not an easy task.

“Travis is used to calling the shots and throughout the series, you see all these elements happening with his family and new partners and things like that that cause him to take a stronger look at himself and realize that maybe he’s not always in control and somebody else is,” stated Terry.

However, Travis is never alone. He has his wife and, of course, God.

“Travis’ wife, Becky, is a strong believer throughout the series and she’s a sounding board for him,” commented Terry, who has been acting for almost thirty years.

What’s Next for Detective Travis?

Filming for Season 2 is expected to start soon; however, the current pandemic has altered their production plans. Similar to how they filmed the first season, the producers plan to film one or two episodes at a time and then take a couple months off to write and prepare for the next round of filming. Regardless of when they’re able to start filming again, many of the actors are eager to return to the set that has a unique family environment that you don’t find on many larger sets.

“We’ve been pushed off because of Covid-19 for season two, but we’re raring to go,” stated Terry. “We’ve got two episodes that are slated to shoot real soon.”

Although filming is right around the corner, Terry doesn’t yet know what’s in store for his character during the upcoming season or at least he’s not saying. However, one thing’s for sure, if O’Flaherty has anything to do with developing the storylines, Detective Travis and his fellow characters are in for a wild ride.