In 2016, Merle Dandridge headlined her very own series on Greenleaf. She said so in a 2016 interview with Variety, just days before the series premiered. “It was a very different experience for me to be right at the heart of the main story as the lead,” she said. “…It was the acting dream I always aspired to.”
Following the world of megachurches and the families that run them, “Greenleaf” premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network in the summer of 2016. The debut season received critical acclaim, giving it a Fresh 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The series would go on to receive four nominations for Black Reel (via IMDb). Greenleaf ended in 2020 with five seasons and was praised for its complex narrative and cast, which included performances by Keith David, Lynn Whitfield, Lamman Rucker, Dandridge and Winfrey. Variety highlighted Dandridge’s performance as Grace Greenleaf, the family’s eldest child, who returns after a 20-year absence. “Dandridge is naturalistic in her portrayal of a practical, cautious woman examining her family history and her own choices and mistakes,” wrote critic Maureen Ryan in a positive review for the OWN series.
After the ‘The Last of Us’ star ended her time as a member of the Greenleaf family, she joined one of HBO Max’s most popular series.