Tyler Perry’s New Ruthless Series Debuts on BET+ starring Melissa L. Williams & Matt Cedeno
Written by: Jaimi Gray – March 23rd 2020, 7:15pm pst
With social distancing in full-effect around the world, we recommend creating a “Quarantine playlist” of some new shows to watch. Tyler Perry’s newest drama series Ruthless is next on our list and is also the first new original series from Perry to stream on BET+, a joint partnership between BET Networks and Tyler Perry Studios. Tyler Perry’s Ruthless, is a spin-off of the hit drama TV series Tyler Perry’s The Oval. The story follows a character named Ruth(played by Melissa L. Williams) who kidnaps her daughter to join her in a religious cult. Once Ruth realizes things are not as they seem, she is fighting for her life to escape.
BHL Correspondent, Jaimi Gray spoke with Melissa L. Williams (plays Ruth) and Matt Cedeno (plays The Highest) about the new series and their characters. You may know Melissa L. Williams from her role as Ruth on Tyler Perry’s The Oval. Matt Cedeno is also no stranger to our screens–you may have seen Cedeno in Power, Devious Maids, and the CW series, The Originals.
How is your character Ruth’s transition from the series Tyler Perry’s The Oval to her start on Tyler Perry’s Ruthless?
Melissa L. Williams: [Ruth] kidnaps her daughter, and that’s how we leave it in The Oval. Ruth has taken her daughter with her into this cult and they learn that everything is not as it seems. I think that the fans of Ruth from The Oval are really gonna be excited to see Ruthless because it literally opens your eyes to something that is not foreign to us now.
Matt, your character is called The Highest. Tell us about your character:
Matt Cedeno: My character was fun to dive into. He’s complex—he’s the leader of the cult. Psychologically, he’s from a different cut of cloth. [He] comes from a tormented childhood, and witnessed things with his mother that no child should ever see and experienced a lot of abuse…that kind of culminated into a grown man that has a different sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. His vision is rooted in what’s best for his people.
What were some of your reactions reading the script?
Matt Cedeno: It was eye opening–the entire process learning about cults. I started watching a bunch of documentaries on Netflix, and it was really eye-opening to see how many people kind of came to this sort of cult-like experience….everybody wants to belong somewhere and have a type of community.
It’s fascinating, and he incorporates elements and things that have happened in the past with real-life cults that are just mind-blowing….I think it’s pretty cool and brave of Tyler to take this direction and tackle this topic.
credit: Tyler Perry Studios
Speaking of Tyler–people either give him praise or backlash for writing all of his shows’ scripts on his own. What do you think of the backlash he received? How did you feel working on the show with the script knowing that?
Melissa L. Williams: I just think that at the end of the day, there’s always going to be somebody hating. If he chooses to share something like that with the world and that’s how it’s received, at the end of the day, you can’t win em all. I think people misinterpret inspiration for intimidation. I think we should take away what it is and say, “wow, you wrote all that? That means I can do the same if I put forth the same effort.” Numbers just don’t lie. I think that what people need to take away from Tyler Perry is that his TV show The Oval is the number one cable drama on TV.
How does Tyler Perry’s Ruthless set itself apart from other shows, and why should people watch?
Matt Cedeno: I think he [Tyler] just really does a great job of tackling the human concept of being in that situation. He tells the story quite well primarily through the eyes of Ruth and her experiences and she realizes that perhaps she’s trapped. It’s totally unique from anything that I’ve seen on TV before, and I think he captured that really well.
Tyler Perry’s Ruthless is executive produced, written, and directed by Tyler Perry. The series premieres Thursday, March 19th, 2020, and will be exclusively available across all platforms on BET+. New episodes launch every Thursday.
About The Author:
Jaimi Gray hails from Richmond, Virginia and received her BA in Broadcast Journalism at Hampton University, one our nation’s top HBCUs. Jaimi has since taken her talents to Los Angeles to continue working as an on-camera host and voice actor.
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