ACTOR Title: Chained

Written by: Katie Burke


Genre: Thriller, Drama, Crime

Logline: Seven years after the brutal murder of her parents, a young woman looking for answers decides to assimilate herself into the very cult she suspects is responsible for their deaths.

Synopsis: In the town of Linger, TX, just outside of Austin, "The Ranch" is the most thriving group within the community of dried up farms and dying businesses. The Ranch's mix of seemingly "innocent" farmers and outcasts who've come together to worship the earth and be well, away from the binding labels of society is led by Xai; he has the group's leader for the past 10 years. He has ensured the group's survival by posing as a blessing to the town of Linger. He and his people offer organic crops to the town and stimulate the local economy that would otherwise be belly up. Though the group attempts to appear benign with it's shiny organic and earthy exterior, within the community lies a dark underbelly of greed, control, drug trade and murder. All the surrounding law enforcement and businesses are paid off or fooled by the group's exterior save for an old sheriff in the town, Nigel Ewing. Nigel has wanted the group's demise from the beginning of it's ugly turn under Xai's reign. He has been eluded consistently by the group's power within Linger within and even far outside the small town.

After years of living with the aftermath of her parents brutal death, Jacky Thralling our protagonist, has been given an opportunity to find real answers about what happened that night her mother and father were killed. She has been invited to join The Ranch by her recent ex-boyfriend Tyson, who has "recently" joined the group in his search for enlightenment. When Jacky at first rejects the offer claiming the group was responsible for murdering her parents, Tyson attempts to allay her fears claiming the man in prison for their murder--Ian Centinelli, is guilty, not the group itself. After unpacking her thoughts about losing Tyson to the group, with her brother Jason, Jacky is faced with more pressure to join. When our pilot begins, Jason has pushed Jacky for almost a year as they have conspired to have Jacky enter the group only to expose it, breaking cult down from the inside out. Jason wants to "bring down the monster who gave the order" while Jacky has her own reasons for exposing the cult Jason is unaware of.

Within the pilot Jacky teeters on her commitment to fully entering into the dangerous community of The Ranch. Jacky's safety is far from guaranteed while the group's reach and power are made clear to her by an ex-member Tammy Joe Wright, who accosts Jacky on her week of hiatus from the group, within the initiation process. Tammy Joe is against the group's, and Xai's principles of greed, horrific rituals and values. She unfolds for Jacky how the group began, and that she has been following Jacky since the group took interest in Jacky, just after the death of her parents: "What better display of power than victimizing a young woman, only to then turn around and recruit her for your cause? The ultimate subordinate, ultimate worshiper!" Tammy pressures Jacky to enter the cult and leaves her with the choice again. The end of the episode gives us a Jacky resolved, ready to accept her fate for all the right reasons.

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