It’s difficult to see a dynamic series leave the air, but Leah Remini explained why Scientology and the Aftermath had to end this week, noting that she’d never intended the series to go on for long, and that there was work to be done on other fronts. The docuseries lasted three seasons on A&E, exposing the divisive world of Scientology and many former members’ critiques of the church and its practices.
Remini revealed explosive new details about the series finale, which will premiere on August 26 and feature a live studio audience of former Church of Scientology members. “We’re exposing so much, but we need to do some other things to bring the fight to a different level,” the former King of Queens actress shared in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “We did not plan on more than a season or two.”
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She continued, “I always thought it would be six or eight episodes and that would be enough for the FBI, local police and the IRS to start doing something about it — or at the very least revoke their tax exemptions. People kept telling us more stories, and we had to tell them, but there’s only so much you can do in this forum and in this way.” The series premiered on A&E three years after Remini left the church, becoming one of its most ardent and vocal critics.
During its run, the series sought to expose various abuses the institution apparently let slide despite putting its members in danger, becoming victims of inappropriate behavior and misconduct. “I didn’t know, as a parishioner, that these things were going on. Obviously I understood the policies of Scientology, because we all read the same things, but you don’t truly understand what’s going on. You see me, I’m shocked in these episodes.”
Remini has continued working with A&E, investigating Jehovah’s Witnesses within the series and stating that she will continue to work for victims. “We’ve done our job. The public is seeing what a truly evil organization it is,” she added. “It’s not about religious beliefs. They can believe whatever the f–k they want. But they can’t just do whatever the f–k they want — because that’s what they’ve been doing.”
As for whether or not the Emmy-winning series has helped Remini find closure, the actress still has much to grapple with. “Most people, when they get out of an abusive relationship, hopefully start doing the work to heal. I just haven’t been able to do that. It’s opened up a can of worms for me,” she admitted.