A Friend of the Family the miniseries about Peacock, plot, cast and commentary

A Friend of the Family is a new 9-episode miniseries to be released weekly on Peacock from Friday, November 25, 2022, that tells an incredible true story. A story so absurd that it probably would not have been accepted if it were the idea for the subject of a novel or a TV series, considering it not very credible. Yet it is a true story that happened Jan Broberg, today a fairly well-known actress, kidnapped twice by her neighbor when she was just a child. And if you are wondering how it is possible to kidnap a little girl twice, this is only the first of the many questions this story raises.

A Friend of the Family, the plot

I know it sounds unbelievable but it was a different world back then. I decided to tell my story because too many people thought it couldn’t really have happened“, the words of Jan Broberg open the miniseries A Friend of the Familyjust to underline how the series written by Nick Antosca (expert in true stories from The Act to Candy) is approved by the Broberg family. The series tells the true story of Jan Broberg (naturally with fictional elements for narrative needs) and his family, victim of the skillful fascination of Bob Berchtold.

The series takes us back to the 1970s Idaho Mormon community. Bob and Mary Ann Broberg they have three daughters, the eldest is Jan, and meet Robert “Bob” Berchtold and his wife Gail, also three children but two of whom are boys. The two families immediately make friends, spend a lot of time together and Bob, who to avoid confusion is called “Brother B” (Brother B in the original), by his natural inclination is the friend, brother, lover that everyone would like to have .

Bob’s true intentions, however, are to have a close and direct relationship with Jan. So he kidnaps her when she is only 12 years old, making her believe that they have been kidnapped by an alien race and that the only way to save their species is to the mission: to have a child together. For years Jan remains so subjugated by B.. The police are unable to really intervene. Jan does not denounce ill-treatment, Bob and Mary Ann in turn had such close relationships with B. that it becomes impossible to prove his bad faith. The absurd plan of B. is so perfectly accomplished.

A Friend of the Family, the commentary

The story of Jan Broberg it had been told in a book written by Jan with her mother Mary Ann Stolen Innocence: The Jan Broberg Story and from the documentary Abducted in plain sight (all three perfect titles to summarize the story). The documentary itself had aroused a strong wave of negative comments towards Jan’s parents and towards the girl herself, by the web court. And the first mistake you can make while watching this miniseries is to judge without thinking. Without dwelling on the context in which the story takes place. A restricted community like the Mormon one, in which the social bulletin board was neighborhood life, ecclesiastical events. In which it was easy to trust others not only out of ingenuity but out of a natural propensity to welcome, to seek the good in each other’s hearts.

To avoid the risk of blaming the victim, Nick Antosca he chooses a staid narration, in which the repetition of situations has the effect of a drop in the stone, allowing the viewer to enter the life of the Brobergs, their everyday life distorted by what they believed to be a friend. Bob Berchtold is everything Bob Broberg is not: handsome, brilliant, seductive, embodies the ideal lover, the perfect brother, the ideal schoolmate. Only when he has succeeded in seducing the entire Broberg family does Brother B. make his move. At that point it is impossible for Jan not to believe the scene put in place by his friend. And the genuine simplicity of Mary Ann and Bob ends up making them unwitting accomplices of Brother B.

After In the Name of Heaven (on Disney+) another dramatic story brings us within a Mormon community, in a different era than today. In an isolated world without technology where it is easy to be seduced by the charm of words and actions. The unbelievable becomes believable when it comes out of the mouth of a person in whom we put all our trust. After all, this is how we all grow up, believing the words of friends and family. But even adults are fascinated by a cumbersome personality like that of Brother B. capable of manipulating reality to his own advantage.

Beyond the story that embodies one of those classic examples of a script that writes itself, A Friends with the Family is enhanced by a perfect cast, which offers performances capable of giving body and structure to the characters developed on paper. Self Anna Paquin and Colin Hanks represent certainties, the surprise is Jake Lacy an actor who, while always offering excellent performances (I’m Dying Up Here, The White Lotus) had never managed to make that leap in quality that would make it unforgettable. He always remained a face seen in one or more TV series, whose name was quickly forgotten. After A Friend of the Family Jake Lacy is a name we will hardly forget.

Furthermore, the series is enriched by a particular attention to detail and reconstructions of the time. Photography takes us back to the atmosphere of the time, making it even easier to see. Even if we are facing the umpteenth miniseries (which perhaps even has a couple of episodes too many) and we are bombarded with products, this Peacock miniseries is not to be missed, above all because there is a real risk of finding it again in the list of nominations of the upcoming American TV awards.

A Friend of the Family, the cast

The cast of A friend of the family consists of a solid group of actors with a long and consolidated career such as Anna Paquin, Colin Hanks, Jake Lacy. The evidence of the two girls who shared the role of Jan from the surprising Hendrix Yancey who plays her as a younger girl to the more mature Mckenna Grace who is only 16 already has a long career should also be highlighted.

Anna Paquin is Mary Ann Broberg
Colin Hanks is Bob Broberg
Jake Lacy is Robert Berchtold
McKenna Grace is Jan Broberg
Hendrix Yancey it’s young Jan
Lio Tipton is Gail Berchtold
Austin Stowell it’s FBI agent Peter Walsh
Patrick Fischler is Garth Picock

A Friend of the Family, how many episodes are there

A Friend of the Family is a miniseries that tells a true story, consisting of 9 episodes of about 50 minutes each.

A Friend of the Family, the Italian programming

Following what was done in the United States, the release of the miniseries will be weeklywith a new episode available on Peacock via Sky and NOW every Friday morning.

A Friend of the Family, how to see the series

A Friend of the Family is an original Peacock TV series which arrives in Italy in the Sky on demand section and the NOW streaming platform dedicated to Peacock content. Every Friday a new episode will be uploaded to the box dedicated to the series, content therefore included both for all Sky subscribers via Sky Q or Sky Glass, streaming with Sky Go, and for subscribers to the NOW Entertainment ticket.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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