As the show's bloody posters would suggest, Freeform's upcoming drama Guilt is not for the faint of heart. It's more than just its artwork that goes to dark places — the show's premise is one that should disturb any viewer. After American student Grace finds her roommate, Molly, murdered in their London apartment, the press and legal system point fingers at Grace. With the world convinced of her guilt, it's up to Grace's sister Natalie and defense lawyer Stan to find out what really happened the night Molly was killed — but is Grace really as innocent as she claims to be? Those are the questions that Freeform's Guilt will be posing, but some viewers may think they already know at least parts of this story ahead of its June 13 premiere due to its potential real-world parallels. Is Guilt is based on the Amanda Knox case?
First, some background on the real case. As reported by CNN, Knox was an American student studying in Italy who was convicted in 2009 for the 2007 murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher. Knox, who maintained her innocence, spent two years in an Italian prison before she was acquitted due to a lack of evidence in a 2011 appeal. Then, in 2014, Knox's acquittal was overturned and she was sentenced to 28.5 years in jail. Finally, in March of 2015, Italy's highest court of appeals overturned the conviction, allowing Knox to return to the United States, where she currently works as a journalist for the West Seattle Herald. The exhaustive legal proceedings and the scandalous murder case created a media circus around Knox, something that she wrote about in her memoir, Waiting To Be Heard.
There are certainly similarities between Guilt and Knox's story, however, showrunners Kathryn Price and Nichole Millard did not directly base the series off of the infamous case. According to Price's interview with TVLine, she and Millard wanted to write a crime story that was "an amalgamation of a lot of different cases," as they were "fascinated by the idea of taking one case and looking at it from all ... different points of view." Though Price stated that "there were things" from the Knox story in Guilt's initial setup, the show is not directly based on Knox's story — and certainly not her story alone.
It's important to note that while the murdered roommate plot point echoes Knox's story, there are many aspects that do not. Knox's complicated case had a great deal to do with the legal system in Italy, and Guilt's story takes place in London, which has its own cultural significance. According to Deadline, "the mystery will twist through all layers of London society — from a posh, but depraved, sex club all the way up to the Royal Family itself." It certainly sounds like the show is playing up the London setting, which is something that the Knox case simply did not have.
And because Guilt is not based on Knox's case, viewers will have no idea where Grace's story is going, which will just make the new series all the more suspenseful.
Images: Nick Ray/Freeform