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The True Story Behind Elizabeth Olsen’s New TV Series, Explained

If there is one genre that has become increasingly popular in recent years, it is definitely true crime. Whether it is a film or TV series, anything that explores actual criminal cases has proven to hook audiences like no other production. This happens for many reasons. On one hand, true crime films and series arouse society’s curiosity, inviting viewers to explore different cases in-depth, while not having to get too involved. At the same time, they allow people to understand human behavior a little better, offering an immersive and suspenseful form of entertainment, many times, by the hand of our favorite actors.

Over the last few years, several streaming platforms and production companies have turned to releasing true crime series and movies, many of them with great success. HBO Max is one of them. In 2022, they released The Staircase, a miniseries starring Colin Firth and Toni Collette based on the case of Michael and Kathleen Peterson to great acclaim. Nearly a year after this popular premiere, they did it again: last April 27 saw the premiere of Love & Death, a true crime miniseries directed by Lesli Linka featuring Elizabeth Olsen and Jesse Plemons in starring roles. Like The Staircase, Love & Death is inspired by a true story. Here’s a bit more about the case that inspired this miniseries.

What Is Love & Death About?


Olsen and Plemons impeccably lead the cast of Love & Death joined by Lily Rabe, Patrick Fugit, Krysten Ritter, Tom Pelphrey, Elizabeth Marvel, and Keir Gilchrist. This production, whose first three episodes are already available on HBO Max, follows two couples who are friends, the Montgomerys and the Gores. These young people seem to have done everything by the norm: they got married young, had children, built a very stable financial situation, attend church and enjoy their friendship and quiet life in Wylie, Texas together with their community. But a deep emptiness grows inside some of them, and things take a turn for the worse when Candy Montgomery and Allan Gore embark on an extra-marital affair that culminates in one of them slipping out of control and committing a heinous crime.

Related: Elizabeth Olsen Talks Playing Candy Montgomery: ‘I Would Never Judge a Character’

The Candy Montgomery Story

Elizabeth Olsen as Candy Montgomery

The real-life story happened in a very similar way to how it is depicted in the miniseries. Candy and Pat Montgomery and Betty and Allan Gore met in church after the first couple moved to Wylie in 1977 with their two children. Despite having a quiet, smooth life that many would envy, Candy was bored: her marriage no longer seemed exciting, and soon after moving, she started looking for something else. While attending a service at the Methodist Church of Lucas, Candy met Betty, a teacher whom she quickly befriended, and with whom she started arranging lunches and dinners with both of their partners.

Candy and Betty’s friendship would change dramatically in 1978, when Candy became obsessed with Betty’s husband and suggested they have an affair. Although Allan initially rejected her proposal, he eventually consented, and the two of them came up with a list of rules to follow in order to keep the affair going. This relationship lasted several months, and ended abruptly after Betty Gore gave birth to her second baby and Allan opted to devote more time to his wife and family. And although things went on smoothly for a while, complications eventually arose.

Related: Love & Death Trailer: Elizabeth Olsen and Jesse Plemons Lead the True Crime Series about Candy Montgomery

On June 13, 1980, while Allan was away on a business trip, Candy and Betty met at the Gore home and the latter confronted her friend regarding the affair with her husband. When Candy admitted to the affair with Allan, Betty fetched an axe from another room, and both women struggled with the weapon until Candy gained control and struck her friend 41 times to the point of taking her life. Far from intending to confess to the murder, she immediately destroyed the evidence and carried on with her life normally until Allan came home to find the terrible scene. But despite Candy’s efforts to cover up the crime, she ended up as a suspect soon after, mainly because Allan mentioned their affair to the police.

Despite the evidence and Candy’s testimony, her lawyer claimed that her actions were in self-defense, so Candy was found not guilty and walked out of the courtroom as a free woman. This angered the residents of Wylie, so the Montgomery family soon moved to another town, and eventually, Candy and Pat divorced.

Other Adaptations of Candy’s Story

Jessica Biel in Candy

Candy Montgomery’s story has been adapted to film and television a few times over the years. The first adaptation came in 1990, in the TV film A Killing in a Small Town, directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal and starring Barbara Hershey and Brian Dennehy. The most recent one, without mentioning Love & Death, is the 2022 TV series Candy. This Hulu production created by Nick Antosca and Robin Veith stars Jessica Biel, who earned a Best Actress nomination at the Satellite Awards for her performance. Joining the lead actress in the cast of this five-episode miniseries are Melanie Lynskey, Pablo Schreiber, Timothy Simons and Raul Esparza.

This story originally appeared on Movieweb

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