Remember the drama of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) trying to find a way to break free of the shackles of slavery alongside the plantation owner's sexual play Patsey played by Lupita Nyong'o in the Oscar-winning film 12 Years A Slave? Or maybe the loose whip applied to Jamie Fox in Django Unchained?
Set in the 1850s, at a time when slavery was not only rampant but also legal, the plot of WGN's latest TV show Underground follows on the same lines with the story of a group of black slaves trying to escape their master's plantation in Georgia.
Alongside, the period drama showcases the roles played by "white men" who either wield their dominance using brute force and violence or as in more rare cases, of men who fight to abolish slavery.
For those who haven't started following the thrilling series as of yet, read further to catch up.
Episode 1: Macon 7
Noah tries to escape but is caught
In its one-hour long pilot episode The Macon 7, which released on 9 March, the protagonist Noah played by Aldis Hodge is brought back to the plantation after a failed escape attempt, but not before he manages to get a "road to freedom" from a dying slave who managed to etch the directions onto the wall of the cell house they are both locked in. Noah traces the writing using cloth from his shirt and blood from the now-dead man.
A slave drowns her baby
At the Macon plantation, Rosalee (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) who works in the big house as a maid is called on to help with the delivery of one of the slave women's baby. She along with her mother Ernestine (Amirah Vann) help deliver a healthy baby boy while the father Zeke (Theodus Crane) waits outside. But later that night Rosalee walks by to find the mother has drowned the baby so that it doesn't have to live a life of slavery, which brings to mind Tony Morrison's book Beloved.
John Hawkes is approached to help with freeing slaves
Move to Washington DC, where lawyer John Hawkes played by Marc Blucas walks up the stairs of a courthouse to give a pro-abolition speech, which no one aside from one black man seems to be listening to. Later, the man introduces himself as William Still (Chris Chalk) who has been working to help slaves escape. He petitions Hawkes to let him use his house to help with the efforts but the lawyer refuses to get actively involved.
August Pullman saves a slave from the catchers
Back to the south, August Pullman (Christopher Meloni) sends more money to the hospital where his wife is being treated before making his way back home on his horse-drawn cart. Stopping to let the animal get a drink of water, he spots a runaway female slave and offers to hide her in his cart before the slave catchers find her.
After an altercation with the catchers (who happen to have Noah with them at the time) Pullman drives his cart home, where he offers the woman water from his own canteen and she asks why he's helping her. He says he's doing this for his son, Ben (Brady Permenter), and Ben's future. He then guides her towards a safer route to escape.