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Greenleaf: Trailer for OWN church drama released

Grab your pearls and pass the snacks: This church-going clan isn’t what you expect

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Eli Ade

“The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.”

That Bible verse sets the premise for OWN’s brand new drama Greenleaf, which sees a family – whose patriarch is the pastor of the biggest, wealthiest church in Memphis – struggle with all number of scandalous secrets.

The extended trailer offers a deeper look at the premise of the scripted series, which focuses on the return of prodigal daughter and former preacher Grace Greenleaf (Merle Dandridge). She is bent on uncovering the real reason for the unexpected death of her sister Faith, but that might be easier said than done: her charismatic father, Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David) and stern mother Lady Mae (Lynn Whitfield) seem bent on making sure that their glossy, church-going reputation stays in fact – no matter what deeper sins they may commit in private.

And sins seem to run as rampant in the Greenleaf family as does their proclivity for prayer, with each member of the tight-knit clan hiding their fair share of transgressions. Whether sex, lies, greed, or an insatiable thirst for power, it seems the Greenleafs have a firm stamp when it comes to breaking the Ten Commandments.

“The whole show is between the tension between money and faith,” says exeutive producer and writer Craig Wright. A former pastor himself, Wright says his motivation in shaping Greenleaf’s storylines stem from his questions about organized religion.

“We found a way to take about faith, where the faith seemed real,” he says. “It’s not mocked, but it’s not simple, either. I believe the characters are genuinely wrestling with cosmic questions.”

Executive produced by Oprah Winfrey — who plays a sage, advice-giving aunt who seems responsible for helping steer Grace in unearthing all sorts of familial trespasses — Greenleaf co-stars Gregory Alan Williams, Kim Hawthorne, Lamman Rucker, Deborah Joy Winans, Tye White, Desiree Ross, Lovie Simone, and Anna Diop.

Greenleaf premieres with a new night event on June 21 and 22. The series — produced by OWN for Lionsgate — will then air regularly on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on OWN. Check out the first extended trailer for Greenleaf below.