Freeform’s newest thriller, Merciless Summer season, is harking back to predecessors resembling Fairly Little Liars with flashbacks, twists and turns, unsuspecting victims, and criminals — however is it purely fictional? The sequence takes place in a small, fictional Texas city over the course of three summers and facilities on the disappearance of gorgeous, common teenager Kate and the way unpopular woman Jeanette seemingly takes her place whereas she’s lacking. Whereas Merciless Summer season is not primarily based on a real story, there have been nods to some very well-known true-crime circumstances. In case you’ve been paying shut consideration, you would possibly’ve picked up on a couple of.
- In episode two, throughout a ’95 scene, Kate is speaking to her dad of their kitchen and she or he is consuming pineapple chunks in milk. This can be a reference to the JonBenét Ramsey case from the late ’90s; true-crime aficionados may have picked up on that instantly, as it’s a well-known reality in regards to the case. It was revealed in an post-mortem report that the 6-year-old had ingested pineapple and milk earlier than her loss of life in 1996.
- Two extra JonBenét Ramsey Easter eggs exist as overarching themes all through the sequence. Each the placement of the basement and the time of 12 months (Christmas) had been necessary all through the Ramsey case, as she was present in her basement on Dec. 26, 1996. These are additionally themes inside Merciless Summer season: Martin Harris locks Kate within the basement on Christmas.
- The complete sequence facilities on Kate being kidnapped by her assistant principal, Martin Harris. He retains her in his home, proper in her personal neighborhood and dangerously near her family and friends. This could possibly be tied again to the abduction of Jaycee Dugard, who was taken at 11 years outdated as she walked to high school and was held captive for 18 years. Authorities had been referred to as to the house she was held at many occasions through the years, however she was by no means found. Kate, being held so near house and by somebody everybody on the town knew, is harking back to Dugard’s rescue.
- A pivotal second within the sequence is when Kate goes on The Marsha Bailey Present and goes “off script,” revealing classmate Jeanette Turner allegedly noticed her in captivity. Within the ’90s and ’00s, Oprah Winfrey dominated daytime TV and had many in-depth, emotional, and eye-opening interviews with celebrities and victims of many various crimes. Most notably, Winfrey interviewed kidnapping victims Elizabeth Smart in 2008 and Alicia Kozakiewicz in 2009.
- Whereas this won’t be a real Easter egg, Martin Harris has been described all through the present as a really charming, unsuspecting legal. He’s historically engaging and an assistant principal, and he appears to be a standup man. There’s a real-life legal who has this public persona as effectively: Ted Bundy. Bundy was infamously charismatic and charming, which he used to his benefit in his crimes. Throughout press interviews, actor Blake Lee said he watched the Netflix docuseries Abducted in Plain Sight (which featured an older man grooming a household buddy, much like Harris grooming Kate) in addition to The Ted Bundy Tapes to get inspiration for his character.