The Max True Crime Series Exposes Deadly Secrets In A Small Town

By Charlene Badasie | Published

The 2023 biographical crime drama Love & Death is streaming on Max. Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter and Clark Johnson from a script by David E. Kelley, the seven-episode series tells the chilling true story of Candy Montgomery, a seemingly ordinary Wylie, Texas housewife who was accused of killng her friend Betty Gore with an axe on June 13, 1980.

Love & Death With Elizabeth Olsen

Love & Death begins in 1978, where Candy Montgomery (played by Elizabeth Olsen), a devoted wife and mother, is unhappy with her life in Wylie. One day, she approaches Allan Gore (Jesse Plemons), a fellow church member with his own marital struggles, and asks if he would be interested in having an affair.

Despite warnings from her friend Jackie (Elizabeth Marvel), Candy and Allan act on their desires.

The Affair Deepens

As Love & Death progresses, Candy and Allan’s affair deepens. Their connection grows stronger despite Allan’s decision to focus on his troubled marriage with his wife, Betty (Lily Rabe), after the birth of their second child.

In October 1979, Allan decided to end the affair, prompting Candy to reevaluate her life with her husband, Pat (Patrick Fugit).

Both couples attend Marriage Encounter, a church-sponsored counseling retreat. Betty becomes suspicious after sensing a connection between Candy and Allan.

The Community Is Rocked

Love & Death

The Montgomerys and Gores distance themselves from each other, setting the stage for a tragic confrontation in Love & Death. The tension between Better and reaches a boiling point when Betty confronts Candy about the affair.

A shocking act of violence occurs in Love & Death, leaving Candy with a cut on her head and mild bruising on her arms. Meanwhile, Allan, away on a business trip, becomes worried when he cannot reach Betty.

The community is rocked by the discovery of Betty’s brutal murder, initially assumed to be the work of a stranger.

The Prime Suspect

Love & Death

Candy eventually becomes the prime suspect. But while she admits to her affair with Allan, Candy maintains her innocence in Betty’s murder, claiming that she acted in self-defense.

Public opinion turns against her as shocking details about the murder are revealed in court. In a pivotal courtroom moment, Candy Montgomery is eventually found not guilty.

Love & Death concludes with the Montgomerys leaving Wylie, Texas, behind to start a new life in Georgia.

Critical Acclaim

Love & Death

The series quickly became a global sensation, with Max announcing on June 1, 2023, that it had become their most-watched original limited series globally. One of the standout features is the exceptional performances from the cast, particularly Elizabeth Olsen.

Love & Death received widespread acclaim for its cinematography, set pieces, and unique perspective on Montgomery’s character. At the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards, Jesse Plemons earned a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie. The series currently holds a 62 percent critics score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes alongside an 89 percent audience rating.

Stream Love & Death On Max

Love & Death

The real-life Candy Montgomery also asserted self-defense during her trial, claiming she had to protect herself after Betty Gore attacked her following a confrontation about Montgomery’s affair with her husband, Allan.

Montgomery argued that she resorted to using an axe only after Gore had attempted to strike her with the same weapon moments before.

As seen in Love & Death, District Attorney Tom O’Connell countered her defense, contending that Montgomery could have chosen to flee the scene instead of resorting to violence.

O’Connell also emphasized the perceived disproportionality of Montgomery’s 41 blows. Candy Montgomery now works as a mental health counselor by her maiden name, Wheeler.