The Vow Trailer

Last night, HBO began its new nine-part documentary series The Vow. The series takes a close look at NXIVM, an American multi-level marketing company and self-help group that was actually a cult accused of being a recruiting platform for a secret society known as “The Vow” (or sometimes “DOS”) in which women were branded and forced into sexual slavery.

Following the debut of the first episode of The Vow, HBO has released a more extensive trailer revealing what’s in store for the rest of the series. Filmmakers Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer (The Great Hack, The Square, Control Room) are diving into the deep end of NXIVM to reveal the complicated truths behind the many headlines driven by this, and one of them even has a personal connection to the group, which sparked the entire documentary project.

The Vow Trailer

In 2010, Noujaim attended Executive Success Programs, NXIVM’s flagship seminar, and explored making a film about the experience. She kept in touch with the people she’d met over the years, and when whispers of a controversial secret sorority emerged in 2017, and several high-ranking members defected, Noujaim and Amer started digging, and they had no idea where it would all lead.

Thankfully, we have some idea of what to expect in the coming weeks. Here’s a look at some of the upcoming episodes of The Vow, though the later episodes are still being kept under wraps for the time being.

Episode 2: “Viscera” – Sunday, August 30 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)
After seven years, Bonnie leaves Albany and NXIVM for Los Angeles to make sense of it all. She tries desperately to get through to Mark, who reassures her all is well. Meanwhile, Mark remains loyal to Keith and NXIVM, but a series of phone calls begin to sow doubt within him.

Episode 3: “At Cause” – Sunday, September 6 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Sarah confides to Mark about DOS, a secret women’s group involving “masters” and “slaves.” She struggles in her relationships with NXIVM, her husband Nippy, and her best friend. Nippy confronts the organization he’s helped grow for 15 years. Sarah and Mark lament how many members they’ve recruited and question what to do next.

Episode 4: “Building Character” – Sunday, September 13 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Mark, Bonnie, Sarah and Nippy strategize with Catherine Oxenberg about how to get her daughter, India, out of DOS, even though she wants to stay. “Jane,” a former member and India’s close friend, describes the appeal of the organization and of DOS, and why she left it all behind.

Episode 5: “Class 1 Data” – Sunday, September 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Catherine believes her daughter is in danger and wants her to come home. But she and the former members are unable to get the attention of the authorities, so they approach the New York Times. While weighing the pros and cons of going on record, Mark reflects on his time at NXIVM.

Episode 6: “Honesty & Disclosure” – Sunday, September 27 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)
When they see no action by the authorities, Sarah, Mark, and Nippy contact additional news outlets to provoke outrage and pressure law enforcement to pay attention. Barbara Bouchey, a former board member and early defector, shares her insight into NXIVM and reflects on her time in Keith’s inner circle.

Here’s the official synopsis for the series, which will be airing on HBO and then available on HBO Max.

From Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning directors Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer (The Great Hack, The Square, Control Room) comes The Vow, a documentary series following a number of people deeply involved in the self-improvement group NXIVM over the course of several years.

The series takes a deep, nuanced look at the organization faced with various charges, including sex trafficking and racketeering conspiracy, against its highest members – most notably founder Keith Raniere, who was convicted in June 2019 and is currently awaiting sentencing.

Amidst claims by NXIVM participants of both profound transformation and devastating abuse, the series, like Noujaim and Amer’s previous films, seeks to reveal the issues behind the headlines and explore the emotional toll of unfolding events on these individuals.

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