Two series indicate the exhaustion of the ‘true crime’ genre – 05/10/2023 – Maurício Stycer

In the future, when a survey is carried out on the great waves that moved television production in the first decades of the 21st century, a chapter will certainly be devoted to “true crime”.

Series inspired by true crimes, both fiction and documentaries, have always been present in programming, but have gained enormous momentum with the growth of streaming platforms. The reconstruction of police cases proved to be a fertile source for screenwriters and highly seductive for large audiences.

The historical survey of this type of production will possibly indicate that the “true crime” trend reached its peak at the turn of 2022 to 2023. The most obvious sign of this situation will have been the exhibition, in an interval of less than a year, of two almost identical series, about the same crime, on two major platforms.

I’m talking about “Candy, a story of passion and crime” (Star +), released in May 2022, and “Love and Death” (HBO), which premiered in April of this year.

Both recreate, in fiction format, the very same tragedy, which occurred in a Texas town in 1980, and which gained national dimension in the United States during the trial of the case.

Detailed in newspaper reports and, later, in a podcast that served as the basis for one of the two series, it is the story of Candy Montgomery, a housewife bored with her peaceful life, who one day decides to have a lover.

Dissatisfied with the routine routine of raising children, meetings at the Methodist Church and night volleyball matches, she proposes to the husband of an acquaintance that they have an extramarital relationship, but without emotional involvement.

After much planning, Candy and Alan Gore start having furtive encounters in a roadside motel, where they have lunch and have sex. Over time, of course, the case deteriorates.

It is a curious story indeed, but even the biggest true crime fan will agree with me that it is not necessary to watch both series – just watch one of them to know the case and be entertained.

Perhaps only audiovisual professionals, in particular screenwriters, might be interested in watching “Candy” and “Amor e Morte” in sequence. It could be an interesting exercise in courses for scholars on the subject.

Even though they arrive at the same place, it is curious to observe some different choices made by the two productions, from the starting point of the narration to the profile of some of the characters.

The protagonist of the first series is Jessica Biel, intentionally presented as an unattractive, even uninteresting woman. The protagonist of the other production is Elizabeth Olsen, who makes a much more sensual and spicy Candy.

The antagonist, Betty Gore, is presented practically as a villain, scared and melancholic, in “Candy” and only as a woman without any shine in “Love and Death”. In the first, she is played by the excellent Melanie Lynskey; in the second, by Lily Rabe. The third character in the triangle, Alan Gore, is lived respectively by Pablo Schreiber and Jesse Plemons.

The fact that two major production companies produced, practically at the same time, series about the same crime, which took place in 1980, may just be an unfortunate coincidence. Or an indication of the exhaustion of the genre.

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