USA Network is gearing up for The Purge, a 10-episode television event, which premieres on Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 10/9c. Developed for television from the hit Blumhouse Productions movie franchise, The Purge revolves around an annual 12-hour period when all crime -- from petty crime to gruesome murder -- is legal.
Set in a dystopian future version of America governed by a totalitarian political party, The Purge follows multiple, supposedly unrelated characters as they attempt to survive Purge Night as it unfolds in a small city.
But while many decide to lock down and hide in their homes during the Purge, others with more sinister intentions choose to brave the annual mayhem. With the series premiere mere weeks away, check out the top five reasons to participate on Purge Night, according to the films:
Perhaps the most common reason why blood-thirsty citizens take to the streets on Purge Night is to achieve some sort of revenge or retribution for past injustices. In The Purge: Anarchy, Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Leo Barnes drives around the city, heavily armed, and later rescues sisters Eva and Cali, along with married couple Shane and Liz. While it’s initially unclear why he’s outside on Purge Night, Leo soon reveals that he’s seeking to avenge his son’s death by murdering the drunk driver who killed his son and was later acquitted of DUI charges by invoking legal technicalities. In that same film, Eva’s friend Tanya is killed by her sister, Lorraine, who was seeking revenge after learning Tanya slept with her husband.
Many characters in the Purge films also participate on Purge Night to justify their own sense of self-worth and entitlement. In The Purge: Anarchy, Eva’s creepy building superintendent, Diego, attacks Eva and her daughter Cali in their apartment because he felt entitled to a relationship with Eva -- and she never went along with his advances. Later on, in The Purge: Election Year, the so-called “Candy Girl” who was caught stealing candy from Joe’s store tried to attack the store on Purge Night because she felt entitled to the candy. The act of going out on Purge Night is even seen as a coming-of-age rite of passage for some, including Isaiah in The First Purge.
While many citizens lock their homes down and try to avoid danger on Purge Night, many lower-income individuals in the Purge movies simply don’t have that luxury. After learning that he’s terminally ill, Eva’s father in The Purge: Anarchy sacrifices himself to upper-class Purgers in exchange for much-needed cash to support his family. Later in the same movie, a masked gang captures Leo, Eva, Cali, Shane, and Liz in order to sell them to another group of upper-class Purgers. Even Joe, the store owner in The Purge: Election Year, decides not to stay inside on Purge Night in order to protect his shop from Purgers who might damage his property and merchandise. According to The First Purge, money has always been a factor in the annual event. In that film, the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) commission a trial run of the Purge on Staten Island, where low-income tenants of the Park Hill Towers housing projects are given $5,000 to participate, with the potential to take home more money if they cause more chaos.
Spiritual and Societal “Cleansing”
Throughout the entire film franchise, Purge Night is depicted by NFFA propaganda and supporters as a necessary societal “cleansing.” In the first film, The Purge, the young adults who threaten and torment the Sandins during Purge Night repeatedly reference their American right to “cleanse [their] souls” of hatred and violent impulses. The Purge: Anarchy reveals that the NFFA itself enlists killers to target low-income housing projects and reduce citizens on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. The Purge: Election Year also doubles down on the spiritual Purge rhetoric, as Minister Edwidge Owens -- the pro-Purge candidate for president -- presides over a “Purge Mass” that’s meant to provide religious enlightenment to those in attendance.
Not everybody who takes to the streets on Purge Night has an emotional or monetary purpose behind their actions. In every Purge movie, there are always groups of participants who Purge purely for sport. In the first film, the gang that torments the Sandins are outside simply because they feel like being violent on Purge Night — and it’s legal during the annual 12-hour Purge window. The Purge: Anarchy prominently showcases rich Purgers who pay hunters and self-sacrifices for people to brutally murder in their homes without taking any risks to capture their prey themselves. And to top it off, The Purge: Election Year even displays how the Purge attracts “murder tourists” who travel to the U.S. in order to legally murder American citizens without having to face any repercussions.
Who will hide and who will seek in The Purge TV series? Find out when the 10-episode event premieres on Tuesday, Sept. 4, on USA Network!