Is Netflix’s Unbelievable Based on True Story?

YupLife Staff

Netflix’s new crime series “Unbelievable,” explains the tale of evil and injustice. An 18-year-old girl Marie Adler, resident of Lynwood, Washington is harassed in her apartment by a man who ties her up, rapes her, and then takes photos of her naked body. Marie later reports about this incident to the police who deny her allegations and charges her for filing a fake statement to the police. But, is this Netflix’s drama Unbelievable based on a true story? To know that, continue reading.

Unbelievable Based on True Story

Is Unbelievable based on True Story?

Yes, it is! The story is based on the 2015 Pulitzer award-winning article from ProPublica and the Marshall Project by reporters T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong that was based on a joint investigation by two detectives Grace Rasmussen and Karen Duvall. Their article “Unbelievable Story of Rape” reveals how Marie was raped and the pursuit of detectives for the serial predator. 

Detectives Grace Rasmussen and Karen Duvall played by Toni Collette and Merritt Wever respectively

In 2008, Marie told the police that she had been “tied up, blindfolded, muffled and abused” in her residence in Washington but she was helpless to memorize the details of the crime. In the sequel of the conflict, her foster mother suspected her as she showed no emotions when she met her. Also, her friend Peggy Cunningham was also suspicious either she’s telling the truth.

Though the childhood of Adler was unsteady as she was in and out frequently of her foster home but at the age of 18, she was independent and also got a job at Costco.

Suspense and Complications

As the police had good reasons to believe that whatever she’s telling was not wholly true, she was asked to re-explain her story. After finding discrepancies in her narrative, the police asked her to write the true statement on a paper for her convenience about what happened that night. In her statement, she wrote that “she dreamt that someone broke in and raped her.”

But after some time, she again changed her statement and said she had lied and as an outcome, she was charged with fraudulent accusations and faced spending a year in jail. However, she was set free on certain terms that she would attend mental health counseling for her lies and paying $500 for covering court costs.

Luckily, two years later, two detectives Grace Rasmussen and Karen Duvall were working on a similar rape case and discovered a man named Marc O’Leary was guilty. He had taken photographs of his victims, and detectives found photos proving he had abused Adler and later, he found chargeable of two rapes in Washington, with Adler named as one of the victims.

Detectives Grace Rasmussen and Karen Duvall portrayed in drama

What happened to Marie afterward?

Following O’Leary’s punishment, the police dismissed the charges against her and returned the $500 she had paid to meet the court fees. She went on to sue the city of Lynwood and was provided $150,000 in the settlement.

Where Marie is today?

The ProPublica article states that Marie ultimately married and had two kids, but her current location was not revealed.

What does Marie think of her story on Netflix?

Netflix’s Unbelievable Based on True Story
Unbelievable is based on real life events

Kaitlyn Dever, who played the role of Marie in the series, said that she thought to reach out to Marie before shooting started. But eventually, executive producer Susannah Grant and the rest of the Unbelievable team stopped her. Everyone on the team was of the view that she’s already been through so much and we have to respect her privacy.

Marie Adler is happily married now


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