A female Marine veteran struggling with PTSD and alcoholism finds a renewed sense of purpose when she decides to use her training to become the “exit plan” for women seeking to leave abusive relationships while unraveling her own history of military sexual trauma.
The Exit Plan is a one-hour action drama that draws inspiration from the dark, intense tone of Man on Fire, adds the flair and sardonic wit of I May Destroy You and layers it all on top of a story of female empowerment in the face of domestic abuse reminiscent of Enough starring J-Lo.
The world can be an ugly place. Sometimes it takes getting your hands dirty to confront that ugliness and find a sliver of light in the darkness. That’s the lesson our hero Tara Xavier will come to learn over the course of this series.
Haunted by the trauma of her time serving in the military, Tara struggles to reacclimate to civilian life while battling her demons. Her mind takes her to dark places and prevents her from connecting with the people who care about her.
Things begin to change when her best friend convinces her to use her skills to make a difference in the lives of women in need of a way out of their violent circumstances...by any means necessary.
The driving force behind the series is the variety of diverse characters and stories that Tara will encounter in her efforts to help. At the same time her own internal journey to reconcile her past will take us on a dark path down memory lane to track down and confront her assailants and seek justice for what they did to her.
The walls Tara has built around herself are tall, and for good reason. Being top of her class, a star athlete and a black belt in jiu jitsu throughout high school prepared her to follow in her late father’s footsteps by joining the Marines, but it didn’t prepare her to face the one challenge she could have never imagined: Military Sexual Trauma (MST). After excelling for several years Tara felt betrayed by the system after enduring a sexual assault by two of her fellow squad members and never getting justice once she reported it.
Despite this, Tara continued to serve, still seeking justice, while building resentment for authority and walls around her emotions turning to alcohol to help her cope. Eventually she accepted an Honorable Discharge ending her relationship with the military and leaving her feeling lost and abandoned.
Now, with the ghosts of her past still haunting her, Tara must try to find a new purpose as a civilian while combating the demons of MST and alcoholism.
Tara’s best friend for as long as she can remember, Gina was always there when Tara needed her the most. She stood by her side at her father’s funeral and supported her decision to follow in his footsteps by joining the military. Tara was there for her, too, giving her a place to hideout on nights when Gina’s father would get drunk and turn violent with her and her mom. She was also the first person she came out to as a teenager navigating her sexuality.
Her own experience witnessing and surviving domestic violence would prompt her to become a social worker and host weekly support group meetings for other domestic abuse survivors.
Even though she followed her own path when her best friend shipped herself off to the Marines, Gina always kept Tara at the front of her mind as an inspiration and worried about her once the letters stopped arriving in her mailbox.
With Tara finally back home, Gina’s mission is to help her friend regain her footing. But she’ll have to find a way to break down Tara’s walls first.
Victor and Tara's father go way back. They grew up together and then enlisted into the Marines together right out of high school. Victor injured his knee in a training exercise and returned to Atlanta while Tara’s father remained in the service and was later killed in the line of duty leaving Victor feeling guilty for not being there to watch out for him. That guilt continues to haunt him.
Tara’s return gives Victor a new chance to redeem himself for the loss of her father.
The night that Tara walks into the bar and takes out a mouthy creep who hits on her, Jerome instantly feels like he’s met his match. In Tara he immediately recognizes a kindred spirit battling inner demons in much the same way he is.
While he attempts to get Tara to let her guard down and allow him to get close, Jerome is hiding parts of his own past including a domestic violence incident where he hit his ex-girlfriend years ago.
Atlanta serves as the backdrop for this story providing the right balance of diversity of both people and locations. The scale of the city makes it easily traversable for Tara in her tricked out Dodge Challenger and provides a wide variety of environments from trap houses to decadent mansions.
Military Sexual Trauma
Tara is a survivor. Over the course of the series, we will gradually reveal the reasons for her exit from the military including the sexual assault that she endured during her service by her fellow service members. This show will be an opportunity to shed light on an issue that goes undiscussed far too often.
Many of the women Tara encounters are either in domestic abuse situations or are survivors. Throughout the show we will explore the countless forms that abuse can take, be it physical, verbal or sexual. Each episode will be an opportunity to shine a light on a unique story of abuse and perseverance.
The objective of the show is to highlight women taking agency over their circumstances and becoming the heroes of their own stories. The characters will constantly look to empower each other and find ways to take control of the situations they find themselves without relying on men to swoop in and save the day.
With a strong woman of color leading a diverse cast telling stories primarily from the point of view of the women our lead encounters, The Exit Plan is a series that has the potential to draw in a very strong following of women 18 to 35. Beyond that, the show’s dark tone as well as a steady flow of action primarily in the form of hand-to-hand combat – not to mention Tara’s tricked out vintage Dodge Challenger – will appeal to men 18 to 35 as well.
Tara Xavier, an African-American veteran in her late 20’s returns home from her final tour in Afghanistan with severe depression and PTSD. As she struggles to reacclimate to civilian life she has vivid nightmares where she relives her most traumatic experiences from her time in the service and drinks heavily to ease the post-traumatic stress. In the first example of this Tara wakes up to the sound of someone in her house. She grabs her gun from under her pillow and searches the house. She hears the intruder exit through the backdoor and follows. When she catches up with them we see that it is a young Afghani boy wired with explosives. Tara starts to put the gun down, but the boy triggers the bomb blowing them both up just before Tara gasps awake in a cold sweat back in her bed. Cut to her in the bathtub cradling a bottle of Jack Daniels.
The next morning Tara gets a visit from her best friend Gina. Seeing her condition, Gina is immediately concerned. When she tries to dig deeper Tara politely rushes her out. Before leaving Gina gives her a momento from their childhood: a photo of the two as girls together.
Tara pays a visit to a gym run by Victor, an old family friend who served with her father. She confides in him about her struggle to return to civilian life and he offers to let her train at the gym whenever she wants.
After knocking out a grabby guy in a bar, Tara is approached by Jerome who is impressed with how she handles herself. They have what she believes is a one night stand only to find herself being pursued and eventually interested in something more without allowing him to get too close.
She attends a support group meeting for survivors of domestic violence hosted by Gina and listens to the stories and decides to help one of the women escape her abusive husband. Although she gets beaten up in the process, Tara succeeds and finds a renewed sense of purpose in helping other women in similar situations.
Season One Concepts
Tara returns home and struggles to establish her new normal. Gina convinces her to help a woman escape her abusive husband. Tara has a one night stand with Jerome.
Tara has a vivid nightmare about her MST. Gina investigates the abusive cop. Tara takes down the abusive cop. Word spreads about Tara’s skills.
Tara runs into Jerome who calls her out. Victor reveals his troubles with a local gang. Tara confronts the gang leader with the help of his girlfriend who he abuses.
Tara reaches out to Jerome and they hook up again. Her mom reveals that her father hit her once. She learns that one of her MST assailants is back in Atlanta.
Tara’s begins stalking her assailant with Vic’s help. She has an argument with Jerome. Her drinking gets out of hand as her nightmares get worse.
Tara gets beaten up badly during an extraction while drunk. She meets her nurse Amanda in the hospital. Gina tries to intervene with Tara’s drinking.
Tara becomes attracted to Amanda. The police begin to investigate Tara. Gina is attacked by a man Tara beat up.
Jerome witnesses one of Tara’s panic attacks and she tells him about her assault. Tara and Amanda hook up. The police try to pin an assault on Victor.
Tara and Gina expose the dirty cop and clear Victor.
Amanda is beaten up badly by her husband. Tara reveals their relationship to Jerome and goes after the husband. Jerome intervenes and takes the husband out himself instead.
Tara begins her journey as the Exit Plan and enters into a complicated love triangle.
Tara tracks down one of her assailants from her time in the Marines while helping more women escape from a myriad of abusive situations.
Tara unearths her other assailant who has become powerful and well-connected while continuing her work as the Exit Plan for women throughout the city.
Body and Son
Body and Son is an award-winning narrative short film written and directed by The Exit Plan creator Chris Anthony Hamilton. It's the story of DeShawn, a 9-year-old boy who lives with his single mother. He comes across the dead body of a man he believes to be his absentee father and confides in it about being bullied at school until his real father unexpectedly returns causing DeShawn to react in the only way he knows how.