‘Greenleaf’ cast on the secrets, sin and sex in megachurch drama’s new season

Greenleaf cast: Keith David, Deborah Joy Winans, Lynn Whitfield, Merle Dandridge, Lamman Rucker. (Chris Mitchell for OWN)

After its two-episode season three premiere this week, the drama is already thick on Greenleaf, OWN’s popular drama about a Memphis megachurch family. Bishop (Keith David) may be back in the Greenleaf mansion as he and Lady Mae (Lynn Whitfield) try to pry two million dollars from faithful churchgoer and powerball winner Clara to settle an IRS debt, but his attachment to the deviously sweet Rochelle Cross (LaToya Luckett) may lead him to divorce court. Jacob has basically imprisoned his daughter Zora after she attempted to run away with Isaiah, her boyfriend with whom she is sexually active and who hits her. In addition, Jacob (Lamman Rucker) is struggling with the duties of leading Triumph, leaning heavily on the former pastor Basie’s wife, Tasha Skanks, who is secretly orchestrating his downfall. Charity’s (Deborah Joy Winans) bliss with Jabari, her music producer and lover, is cut short when Kevin, her ex-husband and her son Nathan’s father, returns threatening to sue for custody. And Grace (Merle Dandridge) isn’t quite gelling with her boyfriend Darius.

Following an early fan screening of the season’s first episode Tuesday night hosted by OWN and radio station V103 in Atlanta, Lynn Whitfield (Lady Mae Greenleaf), Keith David (Bishop James Greenleaf), the cast sat down to talk about what’s to come this season.

Lady Mae Devestating Secret Revealed

If Lady Mae’s marriage falling apart isn’t enough, Whitfield teased even more drama for the Greenleaf matriarch. “This season we’re going to experience one of the huge stains, mistakes of her life, that she has to look in the face and say, ‘Yes, I did that,’” she cooed. “And so when you find it all out, it’s really juicy and it’s really something that families deal with often. But Lady Mae f-up and she’s going to have to, she did y’all, I’m not kidding (responding to the crowd’s awe) and I mean it’s one of those ones that just doesn’t go away. And so she’s going to have to own up to that. It’s bad,” she added. “Almost worse than anybody else has done except maybe kill [her] brother.”

Behind the Bishop’s Affair

“Everybody is anticipating what he’s going to do with that woman?” Keith David shared, recognizing that, so far, every time it’s looked like Rochelle has succeeded in getting Bishop in bed, she actually has not. “I am still a married man,” Bishop reminded the younger Rochelle in the first episode, even as they shared a hotel room. “Let us say you can look forward to him walking up to the door of temptation,” Keith teased. “Now whether he goes through the door, whether the door opens or maybe the door just cracks, you’ll see.”

Charity Loses Faith

“Poor Charity,” Deborah Joy Winans exclaimed. “There’s just a lot happening. With her dealing with the grief, she finds herself lost. She finds herself lost in the grief. She finds herself lost with her family. Like where’s her place? Everything is falling apart. I think that parental structure falling apart is very damaging for her… that has a huge impact on how she proceeds dealing with everything else and there’s a rock bottom she hits before she gets back up again.”

Grace is Torn between Love and Faith

So far, in the first two episodes, the cracks in Grace’s relationship with Darius (Rick Fox) are glaringly obvious and they will continue. “Grace has always had drama with love and I think that this relationship is no different,” Merle Dandridge explained. “I think she knew going into it that she was going to be in a relationship with a man who doesn’t believe what she believes spiritually and, at the time, because they had similar life goals in uncovering truths and fighting for justice and the written word, they seem to be on the same trajectory. But when Grace realizes ‘oh I do have a call on my life, God is pulling me back, God is trying to talk to me’ then there’s that dissonance that starts to happen in the relationship when he can’t come along with that. And I think that’s something that a lot of us women go through, oh he looks real cute but he might not be in line with what God has for me.”