NXIVM made numerous headlines in 2018 when its leader, Keith Raniere, and his associate, former Smallville actress Allison Mack, were arrested on federal charges relating to sex trafficking.
Despite being marketed as a self-help group, it was eventually determined that NXIVM was allegedly a secretly abusive cult with a disturbing history of sexual assault, trafficking, blackmail, and more.
TVLine summarized the history of NXIVM in its article about the series. In 1998, Raniere and Nancy Salzman co-founded the multi-level marketing organization.
The group first gained notoriety for supposedly providing “personal and professional improvement opportunities to those who joined,” but the dark truth was later exposed.
Rolling Stone noted that Raniere has since been found guilty of seven criminal charges, including sex trafficking, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, and more. He has yet to be sentenced, but could ultimately serve life behind bars. Mack is also awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to several charges.
According to the outlet, the upcoming show will “take a deep, nuanced look at the experiences of a number of people deeply involved in NXIVM over the course of several years… [It] seeks to reveal the issues behind the headlines and explore the emotional toll of unfolding events on these individuals.”
The teaser is short, running just over 76 seconds in length. It mostly consists of an eerie advertisement montage while old footage of Raniere serves as a voiceover.
He described the organization as “a methodology for enhancing human experience and behavior.”
Several clips show people coming together, bonding, chatting in groups, hugging, before they slowly become distorted and begin to glitch as if they were playing from an old VCR. It is possible the footage was spliced together from legitimate NXIVM adverts.
“This is the family that I’ve been looking for my whole life,” one person can be heard saying.
“It is manipulative, but it’s a good manipulation,” adds another.
Slowly, the teaser begins to hone in on narrations of members discussing the “vow” they made to NXIVM, including a “vow of obedience” and a “vow of devotion,” which explains the series’ title.
The Vow is set to premiere on August 23, a few weeks after the finale of the premium channel’s other successful true-crime docuseries, I’ll Be Gone on the Dark.