A domestic drama that explores the dysfunctional dynamics at work beneath an affluent African-American family's veneer of ostensible perfection, Ritual stars Clarence Williams III as patriarch and former '60s student activist Leron Becker. While Becker refuses to believe that anything is wrong with his family, his wife Sylvia (Denise Nicholas) is an alcoholic who forsakes any domestic responsibilities for liquor. Her daughter Teresa (Angelle Brooks) has assumed Sylvia's duties, and fawns over her father with almost unnatural devotion. Meanwhile, son Mason (Shawn Michael Howard) has dropped out of college to "save" his family. Although he dotes upon his mother, Mason, who is gay, is constantly at odds with his father, who claims that Mason's sexuality stems from being a mama's boy. Tensions reach a breaking point when, on Mason's dime, Leron and Sylvia take a vacation to the Bahamas, leaving their son and daughter to duke it out for psychological supremacy in the family.