'Vindication' actor: As streaming content gets darker, Christians are creating non-gratuitous entertainment

Todd Terry stars in 'Vindication,' now streaming on Pure Flix.
Todd Terry stars in "Vindication," now streaming on Pure Flix. | Retta Vision Motion Pictures / Vision Video

“Vindication” series actor Todd Terry says that as the content coming out of Hollywood gets “darker and darker,” it’s important for Christians to have other engaging film and television content from which to choose.

“There is so much gratuitousness in television today. My desire is to see more content produced that engages the viewer in regards to relevant storylines without being offensive” Terry told The Christian Post. 

“I think you can convey a strong message and not bombard the viewer with offensive images,” he continued. “I think it’s possible to portray hard subject matter with a faith-based message without being scandalous. You can convey the depravity of a situation in a film or television show without seeing everything.” 

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Terry stars as Detective Gary Travis in “Vindication,” the first-ever faith-based crime drama series. “Vindication” features the investigation of hard crimes in the small town of East Bank, Texas. As the series unfolds, there are many twists and surprises. While solving crimes, Travis is also trying to restore his family after his drug-addict daughter (Emma Elle Roberts) returns home.  

Though it's a faith-based crime drama, “Vindication” does have some violence and deals with heavy themes like addiction, sex trafficking, abuse and rape. But, as Terry noted, the Bible itself is full of violence and complex issues. Yet it presents them in such a way that isn’t “offending to the senses.”

“I think this show really reflects the way the Bible presents violence,” he said. “We present violence in a way that’s not gratuitous in a way that I think would offend, but it also brings up relevant talk topics such as sex trafficking and things that are in our society today. Kids need to be aware of these things because it is the world we’re living in.”

An actor for over three decades, Terry has appeared in hit shows including "Friday Night Lights," "Breaking Bad," "American Crime" and "Walker Texas Ranger." Though he grew up in the church, the married father-of-two said he didn’t truly come to know Christ until about 23 years ago — and at that time, “the things that I desired to do became different.”

“I found that I wanted to do things with a positive message, whether it was something simply positive or something centered around Christ,” he said. “Although faith-based films have been around for years, they didn’t always have the best reputation as far as quality goes. I've really seen the faith-based industry step up its game in the last 10 years in a big way, so it became more exciting to do projects that were quality, but also faith-based.”

Terry shared that “Vindication” began as a solo short film created by software designer and filmmaker Jarod O’Flaherty and, after winning an award, eventually developed into a full series.

“I'd done secular shows for years, but I just had an interest and a heart to do this kind of thing,” he said.

The Texas native said he resonates with the character of detective Travis, who becomes a believer by the end of season one and is tasked with living out his faith in a secular world. 

“This show has a strong faith message but it doesn't hit you over the head with it,” he explained. “It shows someone who's living in the world, and their viewpoints come from living in the world, and then they eventually become a believer. It’s not a big transformational experience; you just see my character slowly grow into understanding his need for a Savior.”

“Season two starts off with him acting out his faith, but the storyline is still all about family, and it’s still a crime drama," Terry added. "But you see him live out his daily walk and his Christian faith in the real world, and that’s what I like.”

Through "Vindication," now streaming on Pure Flix, Terry said he hopes to “entertain” viewers but also point them to Christ without "beating them over the head" with the Gospel message.

“It’s key to draw somebody into a story and be entertained, and not have them pull away because it seems fake. I want viewers first and foremost, to believe in the characters and the storyline, but then also be influenced by the faith message that’s in there," he added.

“I want to bring a real story to life; a real, active story with families and characters that viewers can resonate with and root for them to succeed.”

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