The Act’s trickiest plot may simply be fighting through the thicket of existing coverage clouding the story the Gypsy increased Blanchard. To it is in brief: In June 2015, Gypsy conspired v her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, come murder she mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, that it turned out had made Gypsy a lifelong victim of her Munchausen syndrome by proxy. The has since become the topic of one HBO documentary, life time TV movie, and unending fascination and also speculation. And in March, Hulu premiered The Act, an eight-part dramatic collection based ~ above the occasions leading increase to and including Dee Dee’s murder, sourced from BuzzFeed reporter Michelle Dean’s 2016 investigative feature.

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The Act acknowledges in every episode that several of its events have been “dramatized or fictionalized,” which deserve to make it also more daunting than it currently is come suss out the concrete facts, such together they are, at the heart of this story. And also so we’ve wended our means through The plot via its relenten of the key players in this tangled family tragedy to see how closely it hews to the established trail of fact — and also the moments when it may have strayed. (Note: In mentioning real-life events, this piece necessarily has spoilers for later episodes the The Act.)


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Arquette, fresh turn off her power as another notorious middle-aged suburban mother in Escape at Dannemora, oozes the end her lines in a heightened bayou patois. (Accents room a recurring template in The Act’s portrayals.) The real Dee Dee absolutely retained a noticeable Louisiana drawl also after moving Gypsy and also herself indigenous their house state come Springfield, Missouri, adhering to Hurricane Katrina — you can judge for you yourself if it almost right Arquette’s affectation.

More extensively speaking, The Act’s presentation of the overarching situations of Dee Dee’s life dating ago to the turn of the 1990s mainly line increase with accessible biographical details — despite in a recent phone interview, Gypsy’s stepmom, Kristy, took worry with the concept that Gypsy was at any allude a conscious co-conspirator in Dee Dee’s petty crimes, such as shoplifting. (She also says Dee Dee’s love interest, played in The plot by Dean Norris, was no a real person.) on the other hand, the show shows up to have paid attention to part finer points, such together Dee Dee suffering from diabetes toward the end of her life, a fact all however verified through some digging by neighborhood Springfield record News Leader, who coverage of the Blanchards dating earlier to 2015 is essential.

As for she roll contact of Gypsy’s supposed maladies, i beg your pardon were certainly myriad together The plot details: We could not check a street allergy — i m sorry the show built quite a bit of narrative tension roughly — as one of them. (In a different Facebook Messenger exchange, Kristy Blanchard likewise couldn’t say through assurance if a sugar allergy was among Dee Dee’s conjured concerns.) And when not rather as theatrically large as The action makes that seem, Dee Dee’s medicinal battle chest was preposterously overpopulated through prescriptions and also over-the-counter drugs.

As for Dee Dee’s own mother, Emma Lois Pitre: She did happen away in 1997 as depicted. And also according come Dee Dee’s father, Claude, in the 2017 documentary Mommy Dead and also Dearest, Emma, like her daughter, was vulnerable to shoplifting and also petty crime. The film likewise features comment from family members members extending Dee Dee’s history of composing fraudulent checks and also stealing money from love ones, in enhancement to allegations the she withheld food native Emma when she to be ill and also later tried to poison she stepmother. However, us were can not to authenticate whether Margo Martindale’s portrayal the Emma as especially controlling and an essential is true come life or expected to drastically mirror Dee Dee’s eventual tendencies toward Gypsy.

Gypsy increased Blanchard (Played by Joey King)


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In Mommy Dead and Dearest, Gypsy’s father, Rod, affirms that Dee Dee had become paranoid about Gypsy experiencing from sleep apnea and also other conditions by the moment their kid was 3 months old. But going earlier to the sugar allergy, and specifically The Act’s dramatization that Gypsy bingeing ~ above soda and also candy together an act of rebellion and also thus shedding all her herbal teeth, the skews far from Michelle Dean’s own source material. Per she BuzzFeed piece, Gypsy did need to have her teeth extracted after they “rotted out,” yet the root cause is unclear. An earlier bit of report from News Leader pins the blame on Gypsy’s seizure medication.

King’s replication that Gypsy’s precocious, chipper vocal register roughly Dee Dee and also anyone who thought she was sick is a bit less emotive than Arquette’s take on Cajun flavor. Yes sir no similar side-by-side to identify if Gypsy visibly quaked with repressed anger or place in bed spreading long, hopeless stares, as later episodes the The plot indicate, yet evocative face cues and also body language come v the are of any dramatization. Dean’s reporting provides the important difference that the granular bits of fascination neighboring Gypsy’s life are hard to store straight even to Gypsy, despite The action is all at once faithful to her ongoing misapprehension of her own age and also year that birth. Gypsy it s her has given court testimony regarding Dee Dee’s alleged physics abuse, i m sorry she claims escalated in the beforehand 2010s once Dee Dee would certainly hit her with coat hangers and, ~ escape attempts, “physically chain” her. (In The Act, Dee Dee ties her wrists come the bedposts through linen.)

As because that the romantic quests that flourished exterior Dee Dee’s purview: very first we have the older man Gypsy met in ~ the sci-fi convention, that was in reality in his mid-30s. Follow to Dean, their communication developed mostly online, not via message as in The Act, despite Dee Dee go ultimately face them in ~ his home. (In her conversation with buzzpatterson.com, Kristy stated details of that courtship were conflated with later events.) climate there’s Mr. Godejohn. Except what shows up to it is in some made lovers’ quarreling between Gypsy and also Nick in a later episode, when they’re living in his mother’s house in Wisconsin ~ the murder, The Act’s explicate of their relationship—from meeting with a Christian dating site and also acting out kinky cosplay under alter egos come Gypsy’s planning and Nick’s execution the the titular act, on down to Gypsy and Nick hiding the end in his bedroom closet as soon as cops come to arrest them—bears out in Gypsy’s very own retelling the events, supported by evidence from text messages and also social-media pages. Yet The plot is fairly ambiguous around one of the most unsettling aspects of the killing: that, follow to Gypsy, she readily available herself to Nick the night in lieu of him raping Dee Dee. Gypsy is currently three years right into her ten-year sentence because that second-degree killing at a basic in Missouri. Her father, Rod, has been petitioning the branch for her beforehand release.

Nicholas Godejohn (Played through Calum Worthy)


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Not much is made clear around Nick in The Act. His learning disabilities room referenced reasonably obliquely by his mommy (Godejohn walk live in his stepfather’s house, despite his surname is Charlie and also Nick’s mom’s surname is Stephanie), and also Worthy’s performance delicately conveys his difficulties processing tasks and also compartmentalizing impulses. Together the show sympathetically it s okay across, neither of his parents assumed he could so lot as “hurt a fly.” Ultimately, psychologists referred to as by both the defense and also prosecution in his trial quibbled end the severity that his autism-spectrum disorder, and also he was reputed mentally to the right to stand accountable for the crimes he’d been charged with.

A big revelation close to the series’ end is that Nick had been arrested a pair years earlier for allegedly masturbating to virtual porn because that several hours while in ~ a Wisconsin McDonald’s. The duration of his transgression may have actually been overstated, but what The action strangely omits is the he was also caught moving a surprise switchblade at the time. (Given the duty the killing weapon dram in the dramatic arc, the authors may have actually wanted to protect against knife-related confusion.) The action also paints a picture of Godejohn as deludedly pining because that Gypsy also while behind bars awaiting trial, though together of 2018, the was much more inclined to lay reference on her as mastermind and position himself a pawn. This previous February, Nick was convicted that first-degree murder and sentenced come life in jail without the opportunity of parole. Gypsy testified as a angry in his defense.

Aleah Woodmanseee (a.k.a. “Lacey”) (Played by AnnaSophia Robb)


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Though she name has been changed to Lacey, it’s apparent that Gypsy’s across-the-street neighbor and also friend in The action is a stand-in because that real-life neighbor and also friend Aleah Woodmansee. (Just together Chloë Sevigny’s character, Mel, is doubtless a doppelgänger because that Aleah’s mother, Amy Pinegar.) The show presents Lacey as a fairly typical teenager, headstrong and also defiant at times but additionally sharp and also capable of taking treatment of herself. She welcomes Gypsy into her circle of friends without judgment. In one scene, Gypsy stares agog as Lacey and her festival pals pass about a smoke and also give each other crude DIY tattoos. Woodmansee, who appeared on-camera in Mommy Dead and Dearest, freshly told InTouch that “alcohol and also smoking were points we never ever discussed” and also clarified the “I do have actually tattoos, yet all have been professionally done.” (In the abovementioned conversation v Kristy, she seconds Aleah’s criticisms.) She likewise took concern with the choice to have Robb speak in a twangy accent, adding, “I’m not a fan of the entirety hillbilly tone.”

As because that Lacey very first alerting the police to Gypsy and also Nick’s ghoulish Facebook write-ups — and also Mel subsequently climbing v the home window to inspect on the mother-daughter duo the night cops discovered Dee Dee’s human body — the was in reality Dee Dee’s girlfriend Kim and also her husband, David, that tipped off regulation enforcement and surveyed the house.

Gypsy’s Pretrial lawyer (Played through Molly Ephraim)


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Her name is never uttered, nor is that attributed as anything other than “Gypsy’s Lawyer” on IMDb, however we can tell you this: The actress who plays her is Molly Ephraim, maybe recognizable as a regular in both the Paranormal activity franchise and, paradoxically, Tim Allen’s Last guy Standing sitcom. Alas, Ephraim’s portrayal is a little bit afield native the real-life windy defender who represented Gypsy during her initial not guilty plea in September 2015, and over the taking place years. His surname is Mike Stanfield, and he did, as we see Ephraim’s character do, move to sever Gypsy’s trial from Nick’s, though the motion emerged in that same September hearing and was originally opposed by the prosecution. (And though The action introduces a “Mr. Rippy” together the the opposite counsel, the actual prosecuting attorney was called Dan Patterson.) It wasn’t until nearly a year later that Gypsy did, under Stanfield’s advisement, plead guilty to second-degree murder.

pole Blanchard (Played by Cliff Chamberlain)


Gypsy’s father has been reluctant to speak v media of late, though through The action having concluded and also his initiatives to push for her beforehand release ramping up, the did newly open up to a reporter v A&E’s Real Crime, revealing the he speaks with his daughter weekly and also makes the pilgrimage from Louisiana come Missouri to visit the prison once he can. Together for the particular visit shown in the collection finale, it listed both dramatic closure and also was reliable exposition, however in truth, it to be Stanfield who recovered Gypsy’s records, and it take it months to procure them.

More broadly speaking, The Act’s pole scans as a reasonable facsimile that the real thing, under to the newsboy cap, thin beard, and button-down. And it is true that he was 17 as soon as he impregnated Dee Dee, and that that had documented proof of safety time v Gypsy throughout her youth prior to DeeDee relocated them Missouri, including at the unique Olympics, and also of sending regular child support. (Per Dean’s BuzzFeed piece, he also called on her 18th birthday, though was warned by Dee Dee no to recognize that she was, in fact, 18.) Rod right now lives v his mam Kristy in cut Off, Louisiana.

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