Kerry Washington stars in the new series Unprisoned as Paige, a relationship therapist and single mother who tries to navigate life following her father’s prison release.

The show’s inspired by the life of creator Tracy McMillan, who says revisiting parts of her story for the series was cathartic.

“It’s something about getting to work through things that happened,” she says, noting the show’s not an actual depiction of her life. “It’s not my diary,” she adds, “but it was kind of an honor and a privilege to get to go through those feelings, but do it with these amazing actors and this incredible … crew, writers room and team of people to bring the whole thing to life.”

Among those on the crew is showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser. She’s worked on shows including A Different World, Living Single and Black-ish, but says Unprisoned is “definitely its own thing.”

“It’s a very specific and unique family story, and quite frankly, I think this is kind of the first show that I’ve done about a nuclear family,” she says, adding her previous shows mostly covered “found” families. “It’s really a beautiful show. So happy to be a part of it.”

Unprisoned airs Friday on Hulu. Ahead of its premiere, McMillan shares what she hopes viewers will take away from the show.

“I want people to fall in love with a lifetime criminal. … I think many people, if they met my dad, they’d be like, ‘What an incredible person, what a nice man,’” she says. “And all the ideas we have about who a criminal is, you would have to reimagine and let go some of those stereotypes. And that was what I was really hoping to do, to humanize people who are involved in this system, which is so inhumane.” (AUDIO 1-ON-1)

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