Welcome to megachurch Calvary Fellowship World Ministries formerly headed by “Bishop James Greenleaf” (Keith David), and his wife “Lady Mae Greenleaf” (Lynn Whitfield).
Photo Courtesy of OWN
After losing their church to “Bob Whitmore” (Beau Bridges) and Harmony & Hope Ministries, the Greenleafs attempt to maintain a united front. An uneasy alliance is also formed within the family to reclaim the church, but secrets past and present create what could be fatal fractures in the family’s fragile foundation.
Meanwhile, “The Bishop” continues working to mend his rift with his wife “Lady Mae,” while day by day Harmony & Hope’s grip on Calvary tightens.
To see how this riveting story plays out, you’ll have to tune to Season Four of the hit megachurch drama series Greenleaf on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
Ursula V. Battle
Whitfield talked about her character “Lady Mae Greenleaf.”
“Lady Mae is a woman rediscovering her purpose,” said Whitfield, who is an alumnus of Washington D.C.’s prestigious Black Repertory Company. “She has put all of her energies into raising her family, and beatifying the church, and not much energy into what God has purposed in her life.”
Greenleaf will premiere on its new night Tuesday, September 3 at 10 p.m. Last season, the megachurch blockbuster was Wednesday night’s #1 original cable series for African American women and total viewers and has averaged over two million viewers in each of its three seasons.
Oprah Winfrey, who appears in the show in a recurring role as “Mavis McCready” is among the show’s executive producers. Greenleaf is produced for OWN by Lionsgate in association with Harpo Films and Pine City.
“Lady Mae is glamorous,” said Whitfield, whose many film credits include The Josephine Baker Story. “She is a Lady McBeth. She is a grand lady, but also a hard worker. As we open Season Four, she is displaced. She finds herself dealing with all kinds of changes in her life which makes her less powerful in earthly terms. We see her turning to God more, and she wants her old life back. However, she also wants to move forward in her own passion to teach and to preach. She is a lady rediscovering what God intended for her life.”
Greenleaf takes viewers into the unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family and their sprawling Memphis megachurch, where scandalous secrets and lies are as numerous as the faithful. Born of the church, the Greenleaf family love and care for each other, but beneath the surface lies a den of iniquity—greed, adultery, sibling rivalry and conflicting values that threatens to tear apart the very core of their faith that holds them together.
“In Season Four, this family is fighting to strategize to save Calvary,” said Whitfield. “This is also a family realizing a certain kind of humbleness in how things have gone down. Not only has Calvery been taken over by another church, but it has been taken over by white leadership.”
“Lady Mae” and Grace “Gigi” Greenleaf, the estranged daughter of the powerful Greenleaf family, join forces to reclaim their church from Harmony & Hope. “Grace” uses her status within the church where she’s operating as interim head pastor. But her mission becomes complicated when a mysterious phone call sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to reveal her secret.
Merle Dandridge portrays “Grace ‘Gigi’ Greenleaf.”
“Season four is my favorite journey Grace has been on so far,” said Dandridge. “She opens up a Pandora’s Box with a trip to Phoenix. It creates a reckoning she has not been able to face. She is usually the one who turns the tables, but this time, the tables get turned on her. Hers get turned over her in middle of leading the church.”
Dandridge has acted in a number of popular series, including NCIS: Los Angeles.
“Being on Greenleaf has been a ministry,” she said. “One of the greatest gifts I have had is that I can combine my faith and my craft.”
Deborah Joy Winans of the renowned gospel-singing Winans family, portrays Bishop Greenleaf’s daughter “Charity Greenleaf-Satterlee”.
“I have fallen in love with Charity,” said Winans. “She is a woman of the people and a lot of women relate to her. We have seen her be young and naïve. We have seen her try her best to show her parents how much she feels she is called to ministry in preaching and shut down on many occasions. Through it all, we see her go through all these trials and tribulations and we see her mature into a grown woman.”
Winans received her BFA from Wayne State University and Moscow Art Theatre School. She also holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts.
“We see Charity owning the decisions she makes,” said Winans. “We also see her decide that if you don’t want to see me, I’m going to make you see me . She makes decisions that no mater who it hurts, that is what she is going to do. This season she is not asking, she is doing.”
Viewers can catch up on the show’s complete three seasons on Netflix. For more information about Greenleaf, visit www.oprah.com