Why Lady Mae Can't Accept Her Brother's Crimes

Season 1 Episode 109
CC | tv-pg
Greenleaf doesn't shy away from controversial topics. For example, the show's main plotline involves revealing that a church attorney, Robert "Mac" McCready, has used his power in the church to sexually abuse teenage girls.

Mac's sister Lady Mae struggles to come to terms with the notion that her brother committed such heinous acts. Here, co-executive producer Oprah Winfrey explains why this storyline is so important. "I think we're going to get a lot of positive and a lot of negative reaction to this story," Oprah says. "What I expect is that people will be very upset about this storyline. There will be a lot of people who say we shouldn't tell this storyline."

Oprah says some people are in denial about how widespread a problem sexual abuse is. "[People will say] it certainly shouldn't be told through the eyes of the church, but you are not living in a real world if you think that there are not people who sexually abuse their family members, who are also in the church. So, I think you're going to get mixed reaction to the story, but that's what I want. I want people to see how families look the other way."

Co-executive producer Craig Wright agrees. "In a world where, I think, 1 out of 4 women has been sexually abused in some way, the sad truth is we all know somebody who went through something, and most of us probably didn't do enough," Craig says. "If we had done enough, it would be happening less often."

Everyone who worked on the first season, he says, brought their personal stories to their writing and performances. "You see it onscreen in the depth of Lynn's performance, in Keith's performance. You see it in Grace. You see it in everybody. They brought it to the table and used this moment in the story to let it out and show us our own sense of powerlessness, but also our desire to do better."

Oprah says she hopes the show sheds light on a misunderstood topic. "In all the years of discussing, showing, storytelling about the effects of abuse on a family and on a community, everybody thinks it's disgusting until it's their family member," Oprah says. "It's disgusting that that's going on, but when it's in your own family, people find a way to bury it, to deny it and to look the other way, so this whole storyline is about the myriad of ways people bury and deny."