Emmy and multiple NAACP Image Award-winning, veteran actor Joe Morton is back on T.V. in a role completely different from what we’ve seen him play before. Known most recently for his sinister and merciless characterization of Olivia Pope’s father, Rowan “Papa” Pope on the ABC hit show, Scandal, he’s now lending his talents to the new humorous and uplifting CBS series, God Friended Me. Morton plays Reverend Arthur Finer, a beloved preacher at Harlem’s Trinity Church.
Reverend Arthur Finer is the father of daughter Ali (played by Javicia Leslie) and son, Miles (played by Brandon Micheal Hall). The show centers around Miles, who is a devout atheist and the complete antithesis to his God-fearing father.
Miles was 8-years old when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. He prayed that she would get better and his prayers were answered, but then she died in a car accident shortly thereafter. After that trauma, Miles lost his faith in God. The show centers around Miles receiving a friend request on social media from God, which changes his life as well as the lives of those around him.
During an interview with theGrio, Morton shares what sparked his interest in God Friended Me:
“I was deliberately looking for something that was going to be completely different than Scandal, Morton explains.” “I didn’t want to do another character like Rowan Pope and this also sort of fit the bill. I like the idea that someone, especially in this case, a young Black man is helping people and also getting people to understand that we are all connected. We are not just islands of humanity sort of floating around in the universe, that we really do not function without each other. I think that’s what attracted me to the series.”
Morton also remarks that his character was equally affected by his wife’s death and instead of pulling away from the church, Rev. Finer retreated into his faith, leaving his son and daughter to grieve for themselves.
“ I don’t think Rev. Finer spent enough time dealing with his children’s pain in terms of the loss of their mother,” says Morton.
“He’s dealing with his own pain in terms of the loss of his wife. So that idea that he’s a reverend in a physical church…that idea that here you have someone who’s a man of God who did not necessarily do all the things that are important to his children.”
Morton also explains why this series is significant to the climate that we are in today.
“In terms of what’s going on today — both with politics and social media and racism and all the things that we are sort of dealing with right now — people seem to have a tendency to deal with them in a tribal way: you’re right, I’m wrong.”
“What the series tries to talk about is the fact that we are helping one another,” he continues. “It’s not whether I’m right or you’re wrong, it’s what can i do to help you and what can you do to help me. Also what it does is it says maybe we should lift our faces our of our devices every once and a while and talk to one another instead of simply deciding what is going to connect us and in terms of connection that’s what I think the series is about that we are all connected.”
God Friended Me premieres Sunday, September 30th, on CBS.