TV & Movies

When Was HBO’s The Vow Part 2 Filmed?

The docuseries’ most recent episodes don’t appear to include new footage.

Lead prosecutor Moira Kim Penza in 'The Vow, Part Two', via HBO's press site
Courtesy of HBO

When The Vow’s first installment aired from late August to mid-October 2020, NXIVM founder Keith Raniere — along with co-conspirators Nancy Salzman and Smallville actor Allison Mack — were awaiting sentencing. After exposing the horrors of organization in the first installment, HBO’s The Vow returned for Part 2 in October 2022 to further explore the fallout.

Set against the backdrop of Raniere’s federal trial, the six new episodes give an inside look into NXIVM’s inner circle and include an interview with co-founder Nancy Salzman that was teased at the end of Part 1, which began filming in earnest in 2017. The fact that Salzman is currently in prison, coupled with the inclusion of plenty of archival footage, may have many wondering when The Vow, Part 2 was filmed. Director Jehane Noujaim recently offered some timeline insight in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

“We were continuing to film through the release [Season 1]. We were filming as I was being interviewed [by the press]; I was actually in an interview with Nancy [Salzman] when I was called up for a few interviews,” she explained. “We were making a vérité film, and so you’re following the story as it’s unfolding. . . . So when you start, you don’t know whether Keith is going to be arrested or whether the whistleblowers are going to have to run away. You don’t know what’s going to happen. So we just kept following the story as it was unfolding, and we knew we were going to have to break at a certain point, and we felt like the break happening after Keith’s arrest and before the trial was the right division point.”

Both the series description and the season premiere itself offer several clues. On the topic of Salzman, she appears in the last moments of Episode 1 sporting an ankle monitor in her home. Following her arrest in July 2018, the NXIVM president was released on bond and eventually pleaded guilty in 2019 to conspiracy racketeering charges — something that Part 2’s premiere covered — but she wasn’t sentenced until September 2021. She began serving her three-and-a-half-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, Hazelton in West Virginia in February 2022.

The first episode opens with lead prosecutor Moira Penza and defense attorney Marc Agnifilo preparing for trial, following Raniere’s March 2018 arrest in Mexico. Though future episodes will roll out on a weekly basis, the Part 2 finale’s description indicates that the season will wrap with the trial verdict, including the pre-sentencing victim impact statements that many survivors of his abuse came forward to deliver. Salzman’s sentencing will also be shown in the sixth and final episode.

Raniere was convicted by a federal jury in June 2019 of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, sex trafficking, attempted sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, and wire fraud conspiracy. On October 27, 2020, United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis sentenced Raniere to 120 years in prison, an event that wrapped the second season.

Meanwhile, The Vow, Part 2 also includes audio of phone interviews with Raniere from behind bars at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. However, the NXIVM founder was transferred to Arizona’s U.S. Penitentiary Tucson in January 2021, indicating that the doc’s interviews were conducted at least that long ago.