The low-key, but incredible true story of Jimmy Keene (Taron Egerton) and serial murderer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser) are among Apple TV's latest hit drama TV series.
The show has received praise for its excellent casting, mindhunter-like cinematography, and faithful adaptation of James Keene's 2010 memoir (In with the Devil), as well as for his portrayal of James (Jimmy) Keene himself, who plays the charming but arrogant, drug-dealing son of a long-serving cop (Liotta) with much vulnerability and agony beneath an apparent unflappable exterior.
Many viewers may be surprised to learn that even the strangest plot lines in the series are actually based on reality. In his memoir, Keene describes his journey as the son of a former cop who went from high school football player to big-time drug dealer. In his own story, he accepts an offer from the FBI to assist solve the case of a serial murderer who was in prison at the time.
What Were Larry Hall's Crimes?
Larry Hall, the serial murderer in question, was sent to USMFCP Springfield for kidnapping a 15-year-old girl who was reported missing in 1993, Jessica Roach. Born in Wabash, Indiana, with his twin brother Gary, Larry was the one of the two who was often bullied by his classmates.
Hall was convicted of a variety of crimes in his hometown of Wabash during his teenage years, including arson and vandalism, as well as far more serious crimes involving the kidnapping of two young girls in Michigan and Indiana. It was only when the remains of Jessica Roach were discovered in 1993 that Hall became aware of the situation.
Hall became interested in Civil War and Revolutionary War reenactments in his later years, as well as adding to his overall unnerving appearance. From the late 1980s to the early 1990s, Hall traveled across the Midwest to participate in these reenactments, and it is during this time that he is suspected to be responsible for the disappearances and possible murders of several young women.
What Information Did Keene Get Out of Hall in Real Life?
With Keene on-board as an undercover agent for the FBI, Hall was able to ascertain that he murdered Jessica Roach as far as he could.
Keene relates to Hall's difficult process in his memoir. I was right across the table from him for at least 15 minutes, and he never said a word, neither so much as made eye contact. When he was done, all he said was I'll see you later, James. The same thing happened the next day and then the next.
Jessica Roach's life before she became another of Halls' victims is captured in a poignant way by the series. While we may tend to concentrate on the killer's psychology and thoughts, it is important to remember victims as whole and complete individuals who had their whole lives ahead of them, which Black Bird expresses in a poetic, dream-like sequence that effectively reinforces the scale of Halls crimes.
Keene was tasked with discovering the death of another missing young woman, Tricia Reitler, in his memoir. In previous episodes, Black Bird explored Halls early years, highlighting the unusual childhood job of digging graves with his father to steal from the dead.
Was There Really a Map?
Keene discovered Hall with a map of Illinois and Indiana, a scene of prominence in the series too, played with the perfect amount of concealed terror by Egerton in particular, in his memoir. The falcons are for, according to Hall, who watches the dead.
Keene hoped he had found something substantial, but he was put on solitary confinement before he could notify the FBI. The map was left after he was released from solitary confinement, according to the show.
Where Is Larry Hall Now?
Hall confessed to several other crimes in real life, including Tricia Reitler, but then, unsurprisingly, he recanted them all, despite the clues surrounding who and how many people Hall murdered, the FBI estimates it could have been up to 40 young women.
Larry Hall, an alleged serial murderer, is still in prison in North Carolina, where he is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole. For more information about James Jimmy Keene and his undercover plot to capture the notorious Larry Hall, watch the Apple TVs miniseries Black Bird now.