Tyler Perry’s Ruthless, a spin-off of the hit television series Tyler Perry’s The Oval, tells the riveting story of a woman named Ruth who kidnaps her young daughter, Callie, to join her in the dark underworld of a fanatical religious cult.
If you are ready to dive into Ruthless on BET+ but are one of the five people on the planet who hasn’t watched The Oval yet, here are the episodes you definitely need to preview to get up to speed before March 19.
In episode one, we are introduced to the most dysfunctional family to ever occupy The White House, The Franklins. “The First Family—President Hunter Franklin, First Lady Victoria Franklin and their two children, Gayle and Jason— are responsible for most of the drama on The Oval.
Surrounding the Franklins is a dedicated staff of butlers and secret service agents who bring their own drama into the mix. This is where Ruth comes in.
Ruth Hartman (Melissa L Williams) is the ex-wife of Bartholomew “Barry” Hallsen, the son of the esteemed White House butler Richard Hallsen. Barry and Ruth have a daughter together named Callie. In the first episode of The Oval, Ruth manipulates Barry’s mother and kidnaps Callie with the help of her Rakudushi cult goons.
Barry has been inconsolable since finding out that his daughter has been kidnapped, but he doesn’t have time to focus on her abduction. Not only is he going through personal drama with the first daughter accusing him of rape, his itchy trigger finger has him in a whole lot of trouble after a man is shot at a housing complex.
However, at the end of episode four Barry goes to the police station with his mother, Nancy, and is informed that Ruth is dead. Barry has to identify the body in person. Based on some pictures of Ruth’s corpse, and a definitive tattoo on her shoulder, teh conclusion is it’s definitely Ruth—or so we’re led to believe. The detective doesn’t know what happened to Ruth and has no updates on Callie’s whereabouts.
Come to find out that Ruth has a twin sister named Denise Hartman who is having an affair with the president, Hunter Franklin. Denise owns a clothing store in the area and Barry goes to pay her a visit in episode seven, hoping to get some answers about his missing daughter. Denise and Ruth have not been on speaking terms since she joined the cult, and when Barry tells Denise that her sister is dead, she immediately suspects that Barry did it.
Barry denies it and asks Denise to get in touch with a guy named Carl who is also in the cult that Ruth joined. Denise’s eyes get wide as she cautions, “They’ll come after you, man. You gotta let that go…They disappear and you can’t find them, Barry.”
But Barry is adamant about getting his daughter back, and before he can get any more information out of Denise, she is whisked away against her will by a secret service agent named Max who Hunter sent to round her up.
A member of the Rakudushi cult returns to Barry’s parent’s home looking bloodied and bruised. Sobbing, she pleas for safety.
The mystery woman said “Ruth always said Nancy was a good woman and that this is her only place to go.” Eventually, Nancy allows this woman to stick around under the condition that she tells her everything she can about Callie’s whereabouts and how the Ragadooshis get down.
Tyler Perry’s Ruthless begins streaming only on BET+ March 19.