By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J.
“Delilah,” premiering Tuesday, March 9, on OWN is from the award-winning creator of “Greenleaf.” OWN says that last year “Greenleaf” was the most-watched cable series for African-American viewers on TV, and this new series covers the legal arena.
“Delilah” is a complex drama about a lawyer who’s seeking justice for those who need it most. She’s balancing her home life, her love life, and everything else in between. And Delilah’s job as a lawyer is made even more difficult when, for the first time, she will have to go up against her best friend in a case that’s going to place both of them in grave danger.
Delilah left a demanding white-shoe law firm a decade ago and hung up her own shingle so she could make raising her kids her number one priority. Now in Charlotte, North Carolina, she takes on cases the big firms ignore and finds herself, more often than not, going head-to-head with the powerful and privileged as she fights for the disenfranchised.
In addition to raising her two kids, Maia and Marcus, Delilah also cares for her young nephew Dion; manages her relationship with her frustrating ex-husband, Gordon, played by Lyriq Bent; and to top it all off, she’s about to go up against her best friend Tamara in court for the first time.
Tamara has always represented the wealthy and powerful. But this case is different: this time, Delilah’s most cherished friendship is on the line, and there are lives at stake. Tamara is jazzy and enjoys the single life, while still trying after more than a decade to make partner at her law firm. However, being the only Black at her firm and always being under scrutiny doesn’t seem to faze her much.
Maahra Hill stars as Delilah Connolly, and Jill Marie Jones appears as Tamara Roberts, among other esteemed cast members. During a recent Zoom panel discussion about “Delilah,” series’ principals added more insight.
Creator and Executive Producer Craig Wright said: “After ‘Greenleaf’ wrapped, I was really excited to work on a broader canvas outside the church and started to look at issues that maybe were a little more secular and a little broader affecting all Americans and especially all of the viewers of OWN who had really followed us and been part of the ‘Greenleaf’ journey. Oprah and I decided that the best way to do that would be to make a legal drama, since people love legal dramas, but to make it about a quintessentially OWN viewer-centered heroine.”
Hill had similar thoughts about this specific audience. “It means everything to me to be able to represent someone who’s as empowered and strong-minded and has such a strong moral compass. I think she reflects Black women and Black America in ways that we haven’t seen on a consistent basis. It tells a story that hasn’t necessarily been told before, hasn’t been seen before.”
As it concerns inclusion in the workplace, Jones shared her thoughts about the dearth of Blacks in high-level positions and the all too often “token Negro,” so to speak, in many corporate situations. Does she think that she has to work harder within the series because of her skin color?
“Tamara, she’s in the largest law firm in Charlotte. She has the nice, beautiful office with a great view. And there’s not a lot of people that look like Tamara, but she doesn’t realize that she’s a token Negro. But sometimes you don’t know it until you know it, and then now she knows that things are not what she thought,” she said.
Charles Randolph Wright, Executive Producer and Director, added: “These women that they represent are in every city. They’re in every place. And that’s the thing that’s so amazing about what Craig created is that these are women that you don’t see, that exist everywhere, that deal with these same issues, but they aren’t the ones that you see portrayed, and that’s what is so thrilling about this show.”
After watching the first few episodes, I am convinced that this new series will be the talk around water coolers and social media. Delilah is a giving woman, taking care of her two children and her nephew temporarily. There are many layers to her, and she has her hands full with not just her law firm, but her family, her extended family and her own personal life challenges.
Her nephew, Dion, is adorable, and her daughter is involved in violin lessons that bring such a refreshing element to this drama. We follow Maia as she is given instruction from Miss Virginia, a renowned former violinist.
On the other hand, Tamara is fighting daily to keep her wits about herself at the law firm where she works—even when her boss seems to be fighting against her. As the case progresses, there is tension between Tamara and Delilah, with the only relief from this fragility hinging on the lawsuit’s outcome. But to ease her stress, she has a loving relationship with boyfriend Casey, played by LaMonica Garrett.
I am eager to see this series unfold, especially with two Black women in the lead, and all the elements of family, love, betrayal and friendship at play.
To view the trailer, search for [https://youtu.be/h7asNZdouYo].
Look for “Delilah” on OWN, premiering on March 9 at 9 p.m./Eastern; 8 p.m. Central.