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What is ‘Briarpatch’ Based on?

February 6, 2020
3 min read

Briarpatch‘ is the new anthology series on the USA Network that has everybody excited. Primarily, this is because the show is structured like a mystery series. This automatically draws attention, as we expect a resolution of the mystery, the correction of the crime, and the deliverance of justice.

However, unlike the run of the mill mystery show, ‘Briarpatch’ manages to combine elements of absurdism and humor, to present something quite unlike anything. Naturally, you might be wondering if ‘Briarpatch’ is based on a true story. After all, truth is often stranger than fiction, and that might be the case here. We have got you covered, as we tell you what ‘Briarpatch’ is based on. However, first, let us quickly walk you through what the story itself is about.

What is Briarpatch About?

‘Briarpatch’ follows the story of Allegra Dill, an investigator working for a senator. She leaves the big city behind and comes to her small hometown San Bonifacio. Allegra comes because her sister, working for the police there, happens to have been killed in a car bombing.

However, the week Allegra shows up also happens to be her birthday and her high school reunion. To top it off, she has another senatorial investigation in the same area, which concerns her old friend and flame, Jake Spivey, once poor, but now the richest man in the town.

Is Briarpatch Based on a True Story?

With so many elements in the tale, ‘Briarpatch’ does not leave a lot of space to breathe. Something is happening all the time. While reality can be just as hectic, befuddling, and absurd, ‘Briarpatch’ is not based on a true story. Instead, it is based on Ross Thomas’ 1984 book of the same name.

The Edgar Allan Poe Award-winning book is a crime fiction story, therefore, leaving no way that ‘Briarpatch’ could be based on real-life incidents. In fact, even the town does not seem to be real, because of the contradictory nature of the place. On the one hand, it is a small town, while on the other hand, it is big enough to have a zoo, luxury hotel, a print newspaper, and plenty of big abandoned buildings, where shady things go down.

Thus, ‘Briarpatch’ is a work of fiction, but it is reminiscent of another work, that misleadingly starts by telling viewers that it is a true story. Yes, we are talking about ‘Fargo‘. There are several visual similarities, and the more absurd elements seem like a tip of the hat to the FX series that has become all the rage.

That being said, the takeaway from ‘Briarpatch’ is a reinforcement of the entire Camusian concept of the absurdity of life and existence. We can either choose to embrace it and perhaps take it as something humorous. The alternative is far darker. The show smartly switches out the central character, making Rosario Dawson play the role of the protagonist, originally penned as a male. Not only is ‘Briarpatch’ based on a fictional crime story, but it also takes liberties with the source material to portray a nuanced, and multi-layered mystery, for us to enjoy.

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