If you're anything like me, you've become pretty obsessed with learning everything there is to know about Charles Manson after watching Aquarius on NBC. I'm talking mid-show iPhone look-ups to see if things that are featured on the historical fiction series actually happened. And although the show is rooted in history, most of the characters are fictional. But that doesn't mean that all of the show is made up. In fact some of the events on Aquarius did happen in real life. From details like Charmain Tully as a police officer to Bunchy Carter's presence in Southern California, there are things in Aquarius that were very much happening in 1967.
The idea of a historical fiction TV series is absolutely fascinating to me, but can also be quite confusing at times. Some of the details that seem like they must have happened IRL might turn out to be dramatized or completely made-up because the show needed to add some drama in the last half hour. But then there are the things that are small details in the 13-episode series that turn out to be hugely important to the Manson crimes that take place beyond "The Summer of Love."
So looking beyond Charlie Manson on Aquarius, what else was happening in 1967 that is featured on the show?
1. Women In Law Enforcement
In the late 1960s, women in law enforcement was growing more popular. In 1956, the International Association of Women Police re-named and resurfaced to promote women in the law enforcement industry. Similar to Charmain, women started going undercover in 1960s.
2. Bunchy Carter & The Black Panther Party
Another important player in the show is Bunchy Carter. Bunchy Carter, a very real activist, founded the Southern California chapter of the Black Panther Party. The organization, as seen on Aquarius, worked to provide militant self-defense from the government in areas that were ridden with crime (think the 27 black murders Bunchy Carter accuses the police of not solving). The FBI was investigating the organization in the late 60s, and you can actually read the Black Panther files on the FBI vault site. Bunchy Carter was killed in 1969, supposedly by a rival organization member.
3. Charles Manson Considered Himself Jesus Christ
In the show and in real life Charles Manson considered himself Jesus Christ. In Aquarius, Charlie actually introduces himself as Jesus Christ in the seventh episode when he goes to Opal's house. In real life, Charles Manson was once booked in jail under the name "Charles Manson aka Jesus Christ."
4. Mary Brunner & Charles Manson's Son Valentine
In Aquarius, we meet Mary Brunner in San Francisco. She was an early follower of Manson's and is skeptical to move back to the compound with the Manson Family. In the show, she gives birth to Manson's son, Valentine, but he is stillborn. In real life, Brunner was very much apart of the Manson Family and actually did give birth to Manson's son, Valentine Michael.
5. Journalist Ruben Salazar
Another character from Aquarius that was alive during the time period was Ruben Salazar. Salazar in Aquarius hoped to expose LAPD detective Joe Moran for his Cuban roots; Moran had led people to believe he was Irish. Much like the character, real life Salazar was an LA Times journalist who covered the Latin community in media. He was killed during the National Chicano Moratorium March in 1970.
Images: Vivian Zink/NBC (5); Getty