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Is Peacock's Based On A True Story Actually Based On A True Story?

Contains spoilers for "Based on a True Story."

Peacock's thrilling murder mystery "Based on a True Story" makes a bold claim with the series' inventive title by stating there's actually some truth to the wild tale. While you won't find any serial killers allied with expecting couples in any news stories, there are several chilling details that connect the slasher drama to actual events in history. 

Ahead of its release, creative executives at Peacock boasted about the imaginative premise in a celebratory statement available at Deadline, "Inspired by real events, 'Based on a True Story' explores America's obsession with true crime and serial killers." The series features a surprising twist when Ava (Kaley Cuoco) and Nathan (Chris Messina) desperately team up with the notorious serial killer known as the Westside Ripper. This daring trio creates a bold and authentic podcast for insatiable fans of the genre that soon has unsurprisingly violent consequences.

Thankfully, there aren't any modern-day examples of this outlandish scenario to keep viewers up at night. However, the Westside Ripper may be based on an infamous murderer known as "The Gorilla Man," who killed as many as 22 victims and eerily resembles "Based on a True Story's" ravenous night stalker. 

The Westside Ripper may be based on a true killer

According to Murderpedia, Earle Leonard Nelson, aka "The Gorilla Man," had a particularly distressing childhood that may have contributed to his unforgivable crimes. After his parents died, he lived with his religiously devoted grandmother where he was hit by a car while on his bike. When he awoke six days later, he began displaying troubling and unpredictable behavior. Nelson's grandmother died when he was 14 and he soon started to exhibit disturbing actions, including sexual acts. He bounced from institution to institution before committing a crime similar to Matt (Tom Bateman) in "Based on a True Story," aka The Westside Ripper.

Nelson attacked and tried to sexually assault a 12-year-old girl named Mary after pretending to be a charming plumber. Notably, in "Based on a True Story," Matt is also a plumber who had a similar experience in his past that forced him to relocate to Los Angeles. The most harrowing similarity lies in the brutal slaughter of 28-year-old Germania Harpin in December 1926. This mirrors the Westside Ripper's bloodthirsty stabbing of 28-year-old Chloe Lake (Natalia Dyer), which sets up the series' bizarre concept.

The Gorilla Man's grisly reputation even inspired Alfred Hitchcock's suspenseful 1943 masterpiece, "Shadow of a Doubt," in which a psychotic killer murders women while remaining hidden in plain sight.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).