Chilling True Crime Mystery Series Makes You Think Twice About Texting

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Biographical crime drama The Girl from Plainville is streaming on Hulu. The eight-episode limited series is based on the real-life events leading to the tragic death of Conrad Roy III and the subsequent involuntary manslaughter conviction of his girlfriend, Michelle Carter. The story was adapted for television by Liz Hannah and Patrick Macmanus. It stars Elle Fanning, Chloe Sevigny, and Colton Ryan.

A Modern Day Relationship

The Girl from Plainville explores the friendship between Michelle (Elle Fanning) and Conrad (Colton Ryan), who live an hour away from each other in Massachusetts and meet no more than five times in their nearly two-year relationship. Their relationship evolved over thousands of texts, which filled 317 pages of court documents.

A Disturbing True Crime

The series showcases Michelle’s obsession with Glee and her prevailing sense of loneliness, which provides a jumping-off point for the character. The first installment of The Girl from Plainville ends with Michelle looking at herself in a mirror hours after finding out that her boyfriend died. She then rehearses a monologue from the Glee episode that honors Monteith.

Critics Praised The Girl From Plainville

The Girl from Plainville then details the investigation into Conrad’s suicide, leading to Michelle’s arrest. The series received mixed reviews upon its release in March 2022. Critics praised the tasteful retelling of the tragic tale and the actors’ performances. But viewers didn’t share the sentiment, as evidenced by the 49 percent audience score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

A History Making Crime

The case depicted in The Girl from Plainville gained national attention in 2014 when it was revealed that Michelle Carter, a teenager from Plainville, Massachusetts, was charged with involuntary manslaughter for her part in the suicide of Conrad Roy III. Prosecutors used text messages exchanged between Carter and Roy to prove that Carter encouraged her boyfriend to take his own life.

The messages revealed that Carter repeatedly encouraged Roy to commit suicide in the weeks and days leading up to his death, even when he was fearful about killing himself. Roy was eventually found dead in his truck in a Fairhaven, Massachusetts parking lot on July 13, 2014. He died from self-inflicted carbon monoxide poisoning.

A Question Of Morals And Character

In February 2015, authorities charged the girl from Plainville, Michelle Carter, with involuntary manslaughter for her role in Roy’s death. The prosecution argued that Carter’s words and actions pushed Roy to take his own life. The case went to trial in June 2017. During the trial, the prosecution argued that Carter had a moral and legal duty to intervene and help prevent Roy’s suicide but instead actively encouraged him.

The Verdict Rocked Social Media

On June 16, 2017, a judge found Michelle Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter in a bench (no jury) trial. The judge stated that Carter’s actions and failure to act constituted wanton and reckless conduct. Two months later, Carter was sentenced to 15 months in jail, but her sentence was stayed during her appeal process.

An Unsatisfying Outcome?

Carter’s legal team pursued appeals, arguing that the First Amendment protected her words and that she should not be held criminally responsible for Roy’s actions. As seen in The Girl from Plainvillethe appeals process continued for several years. Michelle Carter began serving her 15-month jail sentence in February 2019, but she was released early for good behavior on January 23, 2020.