Unbelievable: The Real-Fashion Story Behind The Chilling Netflix Show

Based on a Pulitzer prize winning article, the story is truly harrowing

While the thirst for true-crime series no sign of slowing down, some TV programmes are taking it to the next level by dramatising incredibly complex, misunderstood and unsolved cases.

In addition to entertaining, these shows inform and educate audiences on complicated legal issues and how victims can often be let down.

The latest show to do this is Unbelievable, which comes to Netflix this month on 13th September and tells the story of a serial rapist who evaded a conviction for several years.

The show stars Booksmart's Kaitlyn Dever as teenager Marie Adler, while Toni Collette and Merrit Weaver play the detectives who make it their mission to bring the perpetrator to justice.

The eight-part series is inspired by a 2015 Pulitzer-prize winning ProPublica article 'An Unbelievable Story of Rape' written by T, Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, which was also told on the This American Fashion podcast, too.

Unbelievable Netflix true story
Beth DubberNetflix

The story centres around Adler who, in 2009 at the age of 18, was charged with making a false rape report in Lynnwood, Washington, USA. After the police said there were inconsistencies in her story, Adler suggested that perhaps the rape claim she'd made a year prior to the authorities - alleging that a masked intruder bound and gagged her before brutally raping her in her apartment- was a dream or made up.

After her case was dropped Adler - who had a difficult neglected childhood involving abuse, drug use and being moved in and out of foster care - went onto rebuild her life after the charge and consequential local media attention and scorn of old friends and peers.

However, years later, two female detectives Stacy Galbraith and Edna Hendershot begin to investigate rape cases in Denver and Golden, Colorado.

Unbelievable Netflix true story detectives
Beth DubberNetflix

The women find eerily similar circumstances between Adler’s case and their cases: they were carried out by a man wearing a mask and gloves who had broken into the apartment, wielded a knife, tied his victims' hands together, then afterwards photographed them and explained just how he'd managed to break in before fleeing.

Though they are from two different police departments - and are two of the very few women at that level in the police force in the area - the detectives put any competition aside to work together to hunt down the dangerous, serial rapist, who's victims spanned states and ages, yet all lived alone.

Unbelievable Netflix true story
Beth DubberNetflix

As they delve into the files in an attempt to link the rapes, they are eventually made aware of Adler's original claim - one that had since been discredited after she was accused of making it up - but, also one the contained the exact same blood-curdling details as the newer rapes they are investigating.

It's both a fascinating and tragic story of the human mind and how it reacts to trauma as well as a valuable lesson in how vulnerable victims of sex crimes should not be treated.


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