Renowned scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. returns for an all-new season of Finding Your Roots. Over the course of ten episodes, Gates uses genealogical detective work and cutting-edge DNA analysis to guide twenty influential guests through the branches of their family trees, traveling hundreds of years into the past to discover people and places long forgotten. From coastal towns in Italy to rural villages in Russia to the slave plantations of the antebellum South, the surprising stories of extraordinary ancestors are brought back to life from the annals of history.
As the pages turn in each guest’s book of life, emotional revelations give way to complex questions about individual and collective identity. Through Gates’ discerning touch, Finding Your Roots reveals what every family history shares—love, hardship, and triumph—human experiences that transcend borders and merge to form an American root system fortified by its diversity.
The season features actors Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Jane Lynch, Christopher Meloni, and Tony Shalhoub; Broadway stars Audra McDonald and Mandy Patinkin; filmmakers Kasi Lemmons and John Waters; talk show host and author Andy Cohen; journalists Gretchen Carlson, Maria Hinojosa, Don Lemon, and Nina Totenberg; comedians Lewis Black, Jim Gaffigan, and Roy Wood, Jr.; and musicians Clint Black, Rosanne Cash, and Pharrell Williams.
Episode 1: To the Manor Born
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. uncovers the lineages of actor Glenn Close and director John Waters, digging into centuries past to encounter a succession of bold forebears who found fortune amidst drama and rebellion. From the gold rush fields of the Yukon to an enclave in Quaker Pennsylvania to British royalty, our guests meet a succession of relatives who prove to be as eccentric as they are.
Episode 2: Against All Odds
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. introduces media personality Andy Cohen and radio journalist Nina Totenberg to Jewish ancestors who journeyed from Russia to America determined to overcome enormous odds in the face of oppression. With little more than grit and talent, these individuals tested the limits of luck and familial love as they battled to survive and lay the groundwork for future generations.
Episode 3: No Irish Need Apply
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. reveals the roots of actor Jane Lynch and comedian Jim Gaffigan, exploring the experience of their Irish ancestors on America’s shores—an experience characterized by sacrifice and religious persecution. Weaving together stories of maids and coal miners, Gates traces the journeys of ancestors who arrived empty-handed from the Emerald Isle and flourished.
Producer: Sabin Streeter, Natalia Warchol, Jenny Sorin, Elizabeth Woller Wilson, Kevin Burke, Josh Gleason, Prisca Pointdujour
Executive Producer: Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Dyllan McGee, Peter Kunhardt
Production Company: McGee Media; Inkwell Media; Kunhardt Films; WETA Washington, D.C.
Copyright Year: 2021
Director: Sabin Streeter, Krista Whetstone
Host: Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Narrator: Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Writers: Henry Louis
Number of Discs: 3
Length: 600 minutes