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The Following Events are Based on a Pack of Lies Isn’t Based on a True Story but There’s Truth in it


After she witnesses him trying to drown Cheryl’s precious dog in a lake, Alice plans to infiltrate Cheryl’s life, gather enough proof of his intentions and take him down. Why not just tell Cheryl about the dog? Well to Alice’s mind she’s just not going to be believed and Robert will simply say that she’s his crazy stalker ex-wife up to her old tricks. 

It’s a mildly annoying plot device which allows the show to stretch to five hour-long episodes, with Alice lying to Cheryl about her identity, Robert threatening and assaulting Alice and Cheryl staying frustratingly in the dark when Alice really could have just said something before Robert stole a whole heap of her money. 

Or could she? Because while this story is fiction and there’s a certain amount of humour, fantasy and wish fulfillment going on, there is actually a serious side in the background of this tale. 

In the series finale, episode 5, in which Cheryl and Alice have joined forces in an attempt to finally nail Robert, Cheryl gives a speech. Robert has created a fake email account for Cheryl, he’s used it to talk to her lawyer and has arranged a policy where if she dies after the two are married, he gets the entire estate, and if she dies before they are married he gets a one off payment of £1.5 million, which he has signed, posing as her. She doesn’t believe she can prove he’s done this. And what’s more, she strongly suspects he’s trying to kill her and make it look like suicide. Cheryl feels trapped.

Even if she goes to the police saying she thinks he’s trying to kill her they’ll essentially do nothing without hard proof. And even if he does kill her and is caught, that’s probably not the end of his story, even though it’s the end of hers. He will write a memoir in prison, it’ll get turned into a podcast, a Netflix documentary, then a Netflix drama, Cheryl says. Women will write to him in prison, and when he gets out he’ll marry one of them. And while the series is fiction, her conclusion feels horribly accurate.

Though not based on the truth there are plenty of real scammer stories to be found. And the device the show uses – documentary style cutaways of other people who have fallen victim to “Robert” (or Terry, or Graham depending who you ask) – tries to emulate the vibes of Netflix shows like The Tinder Swindler. And before Robert’s final comeuppance we’re shown clips of real abusers from Harvey Weinstein to Jeffrey Epstein to Jimmy Saville and many more. 



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