HBO is tackling a striking case of violence in its upcoming mini series Love & Death. This crime drama tells a rather controversial story with the help of its unique cast, starring Elizabeth Olsen, Jesse Plemons, Lily Rabe and Patrick Fugit.
Olsen stars as Candy Montgomery, a Texas housewife who regularly attends church with her husband Pat, played by Fugit. They strike up a friendship with fellow church members Betty and Allan Gore – played by Rabe and Plemons, respectively – until things go terribly wrong.
Olsen gives a “devastatingly layered performance,” as Decider’s Meghan O’Keefe wrote in our review of the mini series.
The show closely resembles HBO’s other prestige dramas, giving the story a new style and take. But is Love & Death based on a true story?
Is Love & Death Based On A True Story?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is very, very complicated.
Love & Death covers the controversial case of Candy Montgomery, who was tried in the ’80s for the murder of Betty Gore.
Montgomery was a Texas housewife who got to know the Gores through their local Methodist church. She and Allan Gore had an affair from December 1978 to October 1979, after which the two couples still remained friends.
On June 13, 1980, Allan realized he was unable to reach his wife all day while he was away on a business trip. The neighbors discovered Betty’s body, as well as a three-foot axe, after Allan asked them to check on her. Montgomery was arrested two weeks later as she was the last person to see Betty that morning and her fingerprint was found at the crime scene. An investigation revealed Betty had been struck with the axe 41 times.
While on trial, Montgomery claimed that Gore had confronted her about the affair when she visited that morning to pick something up. She testified that Gore threatened her with an axe and tried to swipe at her head, leading the two to fight.
Gore allegedly shushed Montgomery while they were fighting, which apparently triggered something in the housewife. “I didn’t think,” Montgomery testified. “I didn’t think at all. I raised it and I hit her, and I hit her, and I hit her, and I hit her.”
Her attorney argued that she acted out of self-defense. But the strangest part of the trial occurred when a psychiatrist claimed that Gore shushing her triggered an uncomfortable memory for Montgomery, leading her to commit the heinous act.
Montgomery was found not guilty.
The case recently got another television adaptation in Hulu’s recent release, Candy, which starred Melanie Lynskey and Jessica Biel.
New episodes of Love & Death drop weekly on Thursdays.