The story of The Thing About Pam is about a murder that is so shocking that it seems impossible. In NBC’s new drama, Renée Zellweger plays Pamela (Pam) Hupp, a star witness who becomes the focus of a case.
But where did the show come from? Is it based on real events? Here, Newsweek looks at all the things you should know.
Who is the Thing About Pam Based on True Story?
The movie The Thing About Pam is based on a true story. It’s about the murder of Betsy Faria (played by Katy Mixon), who was killed with 55 stab wounds on December 27, 2011, in her home in Troy, Missouri.
Betsy, who had cancer that was killing her, changed the person who would get her $150,000 life insurance policy from her husband to Pam four days before she died.
Betsy’s husband, Russ, was played by Glenn Fleshler. After a game night with friends, he found Betsy at home and called 911, saying he thought she had killed herself.
This call was a key piece of evidence against Russ in the case. Police and the former Lincoln County Prosecutor Leah Askey (Judy Greer) argued that Russ had killed his wife in an act of domestic violence.
Pam was the last person to see Betsy alive, and she said that Russ was abusive to his wife. Another witness said that Pam told her that Russ had once threatened to suffocate Betsy with a pillow. This helped their case.
Even though there was no proof that Russ was the killer, Pam’s claims made her the most important witness in the case. He had an alibi because he had a receipt from Arby’s with a time stamp from around the time of the murder, and there was no blood on him.
But police and Prosecutor Leah refused to rule out Russ as a suspect, and in 2012, he was charged with killing her. In November 2013, a jury found him guilty and gave him a life sentence.
In November 2015, Russ’s conviction was thrown out.
Pam was also charged with killing Louis Gumpenberger in August 2016. In July 2019, she entered an Alford plea to avoid a death penalty trial.
By entering an Alford plea, she agreed that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her of the crime, but she did not admit guilt.
Betsy Faria’s case was reopened when she was found guilty, and Pam was charged with first-degree murder in July 2021. The case is still going on. Pam has said over and over that she had nothing to do with the murder in 2011.
The first episode of The Thing about Pam will air on NBC on Tuesday, March 8 at 10 p.m. EST.