Underground (TV series)

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GenrePeriod drama
Created by
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes20 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)W. Mark McNair
Production location(s)Baton Rouge, Louisiana Savannah, Georgia
  • Evans Brown
  • Hernan Otaño
  • Kevin McKnight
Production company(s)
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Original networkWGN America
Original releaseMarch 9, 2016 (2016-03-09) –
May 10, 2017 (2017-05-10)
External links

Underground is an American television period drama series created by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski about the Underground Railroad in Antebellum Georgia.[1][2] The show debuted March 9, 2016, on WGN America.[3] On April 25, 2016, WGN renewed the show for a 10-episode second season,[4] that premiered on March 8, 2017. On May 30, 2017, it was announced that WGN had canceled the show after two seasons.[5]



  • Aldis Hodge[1] as Noah, a driven, perceptive, and restless slave on the Macon plantation. He is one of the Macon 7.
  • Jurnee Smollett-Bell[1] as Rosalee, a young, shy, and sheltered house slave on the Macon plantation. She is one of the Macon 7.
  • Jessica De Gouw[6] as Elizabeth Hawkes, a socialite with abolitionist ideals.
  • Alano Miller[7] as Cato, a cunning and charismatic slave. He is one of the Macon 7.
  • Christopher Meloni[1] as August Pullman, a secretive bounty hunter who walks a tightrope between morality and survival.
  • Amirah Vann[8] as Ernestine, the head house slave of the Macon plantation, who is fiercely protective of her children. She also uses her sexual relationship with Tom Macon to leverage protection for her children. She has two of whom he is the father, Rosalee and James. (recurring season 1, main cast season 2)


  • Christopher Backus[9] as Jeremiah Johnson, an ex-con and slave catcher. (season 1)
  • Marc Blucas[10] as John Hawkes, an abolitionist lawyer.
  • Reed Diamond[11] as Tom Macon (ne Hawkes), John Hawkes' brother and the owner of the Macon plantation. (season 1)
  • James Lafferty as Kyle Risdin, a US Marshall and Elizabeth's ex-fiancé. (season 1)
  • Renwick Scott[12] as Henry, a teenaged slave with a rebellious streak and a heart of gold. He is one of the Macon 7. (season 1)
  • Chris Chalk[12] as William Still.
  • Adina Porter[13] as Pearly Mae, a strong-willed wife, mother, and slave who first gives voice to the song in which the runners will find clues to help guide them to freedom. Pearly Mae is literate and reads the Bible to her husband Moses, which makes the other slaves believe he is the one who can read, although it is only Pearly Mae who can read.
  • Mykelti Williamson[14] as Moses, a fiery preacher for the Macon plantation's field slaves. Many of the slaves believe that he can read the Bible; however, Moses is illiterate. It is his wife Pearly Mae who secretly reads for him. He is one of the Macon 7. (season 1)
  • Theodus Crane[12] as Zeke, a formidable slave in both strength and stature. He is one of the Macon 7. (season 1)
  • Andrea Frankle as Suzanna Macon, Tom Macon's wife and Pearly Mae's half-sister, who frequently expresses her disdain for Ernestine, her husband's mistress and mother of two of his slave children.
  • Johnny Ray Gill[12] as Sam, a talented carpenter and Rosalee and James's older half-brother.
  • PJ Marshall[15] as Bill Meekes, the Macon plantation overseer.
  • Darielle Stewart as Boo, Moses and Pearly Mae's daughter. Although she is quiet and shy, she is one of the Macon 7. (season 1)
  • Maceo Smedley as James, Ernestine's youngest child. He is the younger brother of Sam and Rosalee.
  • Michelle Elaine as Corra, a house slave on the Macon Plantation.
  • Brady Permenter as Ben Pullman, August's son. (season 1)
  • William Mark McCullough as Theo, who helps the Macon 7 escape along the Underground Railroad.
  • Sadie Stratton as Patty Cannon, an illegal slave trader who kidnapped free blacks and fugitive slaves to sell into slavery in the South.
  • Aisha Hinds as Harriet Tubman (season 2)
  • Bokeem Woodbine as Daniel (season 2)
  • Jasika Nicole as Georgia (season 2)
  • DeWanda Wise as Clara (season 2)


On February 27, 2015, WGN America gave a 10-episode straight-to-series order for the series which is created by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski.[1] Season one was filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.[16] Season two was filmed in Savannah, Georgia.


In Canada, the show was broadcast on Bravo. Season one was made available on the Australian streaming platform, Stan, in January 2017. In the United Kingdom, the show was broadcast on Sky1.

Critical reception[edit]

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the first season of Underground an approval rating of 93% with an average score of 7.29 out of 10 based on 29 reviews. The site's critical consensus is, "Underground blends credible terror with enough compelling thrills to overcome the storyline's occasional cliches."[17] The first season received a score of 74 out of 100 based on 28 critics, for "generally favorable" reviews from Metacritic.[18]


Series overview[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 10 March 9, 2016 (2016-03-09) May 11, 2016 (2016-05-11)
2 10 March 8, 2017 (2017-03-08) May 10, 2017 (2017-05-10)

Season 1 (2016)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
11"The Macon 7"Anthony HemingwayMisha Green & Joe PokaskiMarch 9, 2016 (2016-03-09)1.421[19]
In 1857, a group of slaves on a Georgia plantation make the dangerous decision to journey 600 miles north for the promise of freedom.
22"War Chest"Anthony HemingwayMisha Green & Joe PokaskiMarch 16, 2016 (2016-03-16)0.989[20]
A plantation dance becomes the perfect distraction for a heist while John and Elizabeth step into a strange new world.
33"The Lord's Day"Anthony HemingwayMisha Green & Joe PokaskiMarch 23, 2016 (2016-03-23)0.895[21]
The timetable for escape is agreed upon and Rosalee is tasked with the most important part of the plan.
44"Firefly"Anthony HemingwayMisha Green & Joe PokaskiMarch 30, 2016 (2016-03-30)0.915[22]
A notorious slave hunter tracks the runners as John and Elizabeth face a lethal predicament.
55"Run & Gun"Romeo TironeMisha Green & Joe PokaskiApril 6, 2016 (2016-04-06)0.978[23]
Off the plantation, Noah, Zeke, Cato, Henry, Moses, Boo and Rosalee race to catch a train headed north, pursued by August and Tom Macon's men. Noah, Cato and Moses try to get information from Frog Jack, a man who cares about nothing but money, in exchange for their revolver, but are found quickly by August. In the ensuing fight, Moses is shot in the arm, and the others find out he cannot read. Zeke beats Frog Jack and they escape, Cato taking the revolver. The group splits up to divert the slave catchers from Moses, Boo and Rosalee. The catchers pursue Cato and Zeke to a river. Zeke suggests fighting them together, but Cato shoots him in the knee and escapes. The catchers attack him, and shoot him fatally, though he manages to kill them all before August arrives and he collapses dead. Rosalee is separated from Moses and Boo, and runs into August, who tricks her into revealing the train after telling her he saw Zeke. The runaways regroup, and Rosalee reveals she gave up the train's location. They arrive at the train, but August and the catchers have already arrived as well. Moses and Boo manage to board it, but Noah, Rosalee, Cato and Henry are forced to escape on foot. Meanwhile, back at the plantation, Susanna Macon convinces Pearly Mae to give up the slaves in exchange for freedom for her and Boo, though not Moses. Pearly Mae, since she and Susanna are half sisters and knowing Tom Macon looks after his family, including Rosalee and James, agrees. However, Ernestine, not wanting Rosalee captured, kills her with poison in her drink and then slits her wrists with a table knife to make it look like suicide.
66"Troubled Water"Romeo TironeJason Wilborn & Jennifer YaleApril 13, 2016 (2016-04-13)0.881[24]
The road takes its toll on August, as the runners are trapped in a floating coffin and Ernestine struggles to maintain her influence.
77"Cradle"Kate WoodsMisha Green & Joe PokaskiApril 20, 2016 (2016-04-20)0.946[25]
August's wife escapes from the mental hospital she is in, forcing August and Ben to track her down. When they find her, Ben sees how badly his mother is affected. Moses and Boo continue to run, but Moses is eventually shot by arrows when crossing a river, and dies. Boo escapes and eventually runs into Elizabeth, who shelters her while John is out of town, but she is discovered by Kyle. Noah and Cato both tell Henry that he cannot trust the other one, and he struggles to understand the realities of being an adult. He is later killed in an explosion when they are attacked by slave catchers. On the plantation, James is forced to work. Sam protects him, and later tries to buy his freedom, and Ernestine tells him the truth about slavery. T.R. Macon, Tom and Susanna's son, also sees the harsh realities of slavery, eventually witnessing Sam escaping. He tries to maintain his friendship with James, promising to release him when he comes to own the plantation. When James refuses, T.R. tells his father he saw Sam escaping.
88"Grave"Kate WoodsMisha Green & Joe PokaskiApril 27, 2016 (2016-04-27)0.992[26]
As death closes in, the runners' only hope is a suicidal attempt to hide in plain sight. Ernestine faces her worst fear.
99"Black & Blue"Tim HunterMisha Green & Joe PokaskiMay 4, 2016 (2016-05-04)0.905[27]
Rescuing a member of the runners´ turns into a deadly mission; The Hawkes´ challenge each other's choices.
1010"The White Whale"Tim HunterMisha Green & Joe PokaskiMay 11, 2016 (2016-05-11)1.012[28]
Everyone must pay for their sins when the day of reckoning arrives.

Season 2 (2017)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
111"Contraband"Anthony HemingwayMisha Green & Joe PokaskiMarch 8, 2017 (2017-03-08)1.103[29]
The remaining members of the original runners have made it North, but they've learned that freedom is harder every step of the way.
122"Things Unsaid"Greg YaitanesMisha Green & Joe PokaskiMarch 15, 2017 (2017-03-15)0.641[30]
Rosalee, trying desperately to discover who took Noah, finds herself pursued by a new threat.
133"Ache"Anthony HemingwayMisha Green & Joe PokaskiMarch 22, 2017 (2017-03-22)0.563[31]
Ernestine and Rosalee faces unbearable complications that threaten to break their will to live for both of them.
144"Nok Aaut"Salli RichardsonNadria Tucker & Tiffany GreshlerMarch 29, 2017 (2017-03-29)0.476[32]
The surviving members of the Macon 7, Cato and Noah must face the choices they've made to get where they are.
155"Whiteface"Kate WoodsStory by : Devon Greggory & Ben Cory Jones
Teleplay by : Misha Green & Joe Pokaski
April 5, 2017 (2017-04-05)0.594[33]
Ernestine, as before with Rosalee, takes on a new apprentice; Cato tempts fate and fortune.
166"Minty"Anthony HemingwayMisha Green & Joe PokaskiApril 12, 2017 (2017-04-12)0.379[34]
Harriet Tubman, in front of Philadelphia abolitionists, reflects on a life lived with conviction, compassion, and courage.
177"28"Anthony HemingwayMisha Green & Joe PokaskiApril 19, 2017 (2017-04-19)0.500[35]
After a dose of torture by Cannon, Cato is forced to abducting and selling freed blacks back into slavery; knowing this, Devi is crushed and seems finally done with him for good. Rosalee and Noah arrive on the Macon plantation and learn that family betrayal cuts the deepest. Ernestine escapes from the plantation.
188"Auld Acquaintance"Christopher MeloniStory by : Ben Cory Jones
Teleplay by : Misha Green & Joe Pokaski
April 26, 2017 (2017-04-26)0.494[36]
Noah´s plan to rescue Rosalee and James; results in killing overseer Bill and flee on a cart as the Macon house explodes into pieces. Ernestine is trapped by August and later bonds over their shared guilt as parents. Cato still working for Patty Cannon arrives through the tunnel into Georgia’s boarding house.
199"Citizen"Lawrence TrillingMisha Green & Joe PokaskiMay 3, 2017 (2017-05-03)0.443[37]
Cato who is gathering intel for Patty, has a brief encounter with Harriet who´s the first to mistrust Cato real motives. Later he capitalizes on Elizabeth’s grief, and even cuts his wrists one night to garner more sympathy. When someone who terrorized Elizabeth shows up on Georgia’s doorstep she retaliates, burning the man’s property with him inside. Rosalee, Noah, and James make their way toward Ohio.
2010"Soldier"Anthony HemingwayMisha Green & Joe PokaskiMay 10, 2017 (2017-05-10)0.479[38]
Patty Cannon, and her gang arrives into the boarding house demanding Rosalee, in between all the gunfire, Rosalee and James take refuge in a room of the boarding house, she goes into labor, and have her baby, later she makes an enormous sacrifice, turning herself over, saving her little brother and her baby, that are found by Noah and Elizabeth. Ernestine tries to escape again, this time using her drugs to impair August for a bit, in the run both brought to their knees when they find all that they knew burned to the ground, the Macon plantation and August’s house. Cato forges a note written by Harriet Tubman and leads Cannon to a remote location, with only Cannon’s biographer as witness, he shoots her and becomes the new ringleader of Cannon’s gang, replacing her with a new Patty Cannon.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Littleton, Cynthia (February 27, 2015). "WGN America Gives Series Order to Slavery Drama 'Underground'". Variety. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  2. ^ Framke, Caroline WGN's new drama Underground is a tense, terrific history of the Underground Railroad Vox. March 11, 2016
  3. ^ Petski, Denise (December 14, 2015). "'Underground' Gets March Premiere Date On WGN America". Deadine Hollywood. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  4. ^ Kissell, Rick. "WGN America Renews 'Underground' for Second Season". Variety.com. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  5. ^ Otterson, Joe (May 30, 2017). "'Underground' Canceled After 2 Seasons at WGN America". Variety. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 27, 2015). "Chris Meloni & 3 Others Cast, Kanye West Eyes Music Involvement As 'Underground' Gets WGN America Series Order". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  7. ^ Denise, Petski (March 12, 2015). "Alano Miller Joins WGN America's 'Underground'; Alex Meneses In NBC's 'Telenovela'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  8. ^ Erik, Pedersen (April 14, 2015). "Santino Fontana Joins 'Shades Of Blue'; Amirah Vann Cast In 'Underground'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  9. ^ Denise, Petski (June 24, 2015). "Melia Kreiling Joins 'Tyrant'; Chris Backus & Jussie Smollett In 'Underground'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (April 22, 2015). "Marc Blucas Joins WGN America Series 'Underground' In Recasting". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  11. ^ Erik, Pedersen (April 9, 2015). "Reed Diamond Joins 'Underground'; Jake Weber Cast In 'Tyrant'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d Petski, Denise (October 11, 2015). "Underground': First Images Reveal Keys To Epic Escape In WGN America Drama Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  13. ^ Erik, Pedersen (April 15, 2015). "Adina Porter Cast In WGN America's 'Underground'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  14. ^ Erik, Pedersen (April 6, 2015). "Devon Gummersall & Mykelti Williamson Go 'Underground' With WGN America". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  15. ^ Desta, Yohana. "'Underground' is bringing riveting slave stories to television". Mashable. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  16. ^ Denise, Petski (July 29, 2015). "John Legend & Get Lifted Board WGN America's 'Underground' – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  17. ^ "Underground: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  18. ^ "Underground: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  19. ^ Welch, Alex (March 10, 2016). "Wednesday cable ratings: 'Broad City' falls". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  20. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (March 17, 2016). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 3.16.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  21. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (March 24, 2016). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 3.23.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  22. ^ Welch, Alex (March 31, 2016). "Wednesday cable ratings: 'Broad City' rises". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  23. ^ Welch, Alex (April 7, 2016). "Wednesday cable ratings: 'Little Women: LA' and 'Broad City' dip". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  24. ^ Welch, Alex (April 14, 2016). "Wednesday cable ratings: NBA Basketball wins the night". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  25. ^ Welch, Alex (April 21, 2016). "Wednesday cable ratings: NBA Playoffs continue to dominate". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  26. ^ Welch, Alex (April 28, 2016). "Wednesday cable ratings: 'Underground' stays steady, NBA playoffs score well". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  27. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (May 5, 2016). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 5.4.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  28. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (May 12, 2016). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 5.11.2016". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  29. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (March 9, 2017). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 3.8.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  30. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (March 17, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 3.15.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  31. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (March 23, 2017). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 3.22.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  32. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (March 30, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 3.29.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  33. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (April 6, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 4.5.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  34. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (April 13, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 4.12.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  35. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (April 20, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 4.19.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  36. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (April 27, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 4.26.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  37. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (May 4, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 5.3.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  38. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (May 11, 2017). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 5.10.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved May 11, 2017.

External links[edit]