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‘Reasonable Doubt’ Exclusive: Michael Ealy, Sean Patrick Thomas And McKinley Freeman Are Defying Hollywood Stereotypes


Today is the day! HULU’s sexy legal drama “Reasonable Doubt” is now streaming.

Reasonable Doubt episodic stills

Source: Courtesy HULU / Onyx Collective

The series comes from executive producers Kerry Washington and Larry Wilmore, and showrunner Raamla Mohamed (“Little Fires Everywhere,” “Scandal”). Starring Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michael Ealy, Sean Patrick Thomas, McKinley Freeman, TJ Mixson, Aderinsola Olabode, Tim Jo and Angela Grovey.

“Reasonable Doubt” Is HULU’s Sexy New Legal Drama

Loosely based on celebrity attorney Shawn Holley who has advised an impressive roster of clients including the Kardashian and Jenner families, Lindsay Lohan, Justin Bieber, Tupac Shakur and Katt Williams, “Reasonble Doubt” follows a high-powered criminal defense attorney from Los Angeles, Jacqueline “Jax” Stewart, as she fiercely bucks the justice system through wild interpretations of the law and sometimes questionable ethics, all while trying to deal with a failing marriage and the pitfalls of motherhood. The series features an all-Black writing team and each episode was directed by Black directors.

Global Grind’s Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden caught up with “Reasonable Doubt” stars Michael Ealy, McKinley Freeman and Sean Patrick Thomas to discuss what drew them to the show and what they loved most about playing Black men who don’t fit the usual television stereotypes.

Reasonable Doubt episodic stills

Source: Courtesy HULU / Onyx Collective

McKinley Freeman Speaks On The Dearth Of Black People In Tech And The 2%

“The thing that I was excited about this world and specifically this character are that I come from a bit of a tech background, and the journey to get through that space there are less and less Black people as you get through those rooms and having walked that journey myself and then being in a position to play a game developer is real to me because just like, for example, Sean’s character is very successful, potentially on his way to being a billionaire, those roads are very similar because once you get to a certain part or mile marker, you’re walking that road alone. Some of those obstacles may look different but they’re different flavors of the same thing, so for me to shed light on that in the context of trying to be a father that takes care of two kids and is trying to make a marriage work. I’m excited by that because I’ve got homies like that, who work and try to take care of their families and try to creatively figure out ways to do things differently in their family lives as they move forward.

Reasonable Doubt episodic stills

Source: Courtesy HULU / Onyx Collective

Michael Ealy Says He Would Have Wanted To Play Any Of The Men In “Reasonable Doubt”

“I feel like a lot of what McKinley said is true,” Michael Ealy told Global Grind. “Part of the appeal of being on a project like this and what did it for me was the writing and the characters and like I said, reading the script, I could play Lewis, I could play Brayden, I could play Damon, rarely do a look at a script and feel like I would want to play any one of the males involved. In my perspective a lot of the males in this project are disruptive in breaking those stereotypes and at the same time representative of what I consider to be Black people I know. That was what was more important to me.”

Reasonable Doubt episodic stills

Source: Courtesy HULU / Onyx Collective

Sean Patrick Thomas Calls “Reasonable Doubt” A Love Letter To Black People

“To me, when I read the script and when I see what Raamla conceived and what Kerry helped put together, I see a love of Black people,” Sean Patrick Thomas told Global Grind. “A love of all shapes and flavors and kinds and sizes of Black people, the DNA of the show is very based in hip-hop. Episodes are named after Jay-Z songs. The show is so much a love letter to Black people.”

“Culture,” Michael Ealy interjected.

“I’m just overjoyed to be a part of that,” Thomas continued before concluding. “Because I share that love. But within that, as I said before, it’s universal. It’s something anyone could watch and enjoy. I think that’s a very fine line to hit and I think Raamla hit it.”

“Sean and Michael, they’re super humble but these brothers kill it on this show,” McKinley Freeman added. “From my perspective, to see them on Zooms, then see the cuts and have these conversations, just like I’m excited to see representation in the tech space, I’m excited to see two extremely passionate, inspired creative people bring to life these other characters that are three-dimensional and important. So I’m excited for them just as much as I am for the show and for everyone else.”

“Likewise,” Michael Ealy agreed, before joking, “I’m going to Venmo you now McKinley.”

As Sean Patrick Thomas mentioned, the show’s title and each episode title is inspired by Jay-Z’s debut album Reasonable Doubt and his discography. The show also features contemporary and classic hip-hop, R&B, and neo-soul like Outkast, Nipsey Hussle, Jill Scott, and Erykah Badu. The series’ music is composed by Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (“Luke Cage”).

We’ve watched the first two episodes so far and we’re hooked. You can stream them on Hulu now!