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Is ‘Home Before Dark’ Based on a True Story?

April 3, 2020
4 min read

Home Before Dark’ (2020) is an Apple TV+ drama series that has been created by Dana Fox and Dara Resnik. The series follows a 9-year-old who takes up a murder investigation as she returns to her father’s town in Erie Harbor. She follows a news bite that takes her down the road of a gruesome murder case that has apparent connections with her father and a wrongfully convicted teenager from the past.

The series’ main character Hilde Lisko (Brooklynn Prince), hopes to uncover the ‘truth’; through her investigative journalism. She looks up to her father, Matt (Jim Sturgess), who supports her in her endeavor. They both uncover long lost secrets and trace the case back to its roots. The series weaves together the pure idealism of a child, revealing what she believes is the right thing to do. Her untainted spirit keeps her going when people and events try to knock her down.

Is ‘Home Before Dark’ Based on a True Story?

Home Before Dark Season 1

Yes, ‘Home Before Dark’ is inspired by the real-life person named Hilde Kate Lysiak, an American journalist who rose to fame when she covered essential details of a murder investigation and made it public well ahead of local newspapers. Her newspaper titled, ‘Orange Street News,’ is run by both Hilde and her sister Izzy. Hilde started the paper when she was just seven. The first story she broke was about the birth of her baby sister.

Hilde Lysiak

Much like Hilde in the series, real-life Hilde too, is a justice warrior who believes in responsible journalism and ethics. Her inspiration is her father who introduced her to the world of news and reporting. They lived in Brooklyn, after which Lysiak’s family shifted to Pennsylvania. After the success of her newspaper’s crime report, she received national attention and coverage. She even went ahead to secure the Zenger Award Press Freedom in 2019.

She has also been subjected to a lot of criticism and negative feedback online for being an underage reporter. Most of them talk about how she is missing out on her childhood or blames her parents, who let her continue with journalism at such a vulnerable age. In an interview with the ‘Quill’ she said:

The biggest challenge I face is my age. Because of my age, I can’t always report on the stories I want to report on. Sometimes, the magistrate will refuse to give me the criminal complaints, or my parents will not let me go to some places. But sometimes I catch people off guard, and they reveal more than they mean to. People often talk down to me or underestimate me. I say, let them. It gives me an advantage. ”

She has also penned a book series titled, ‘Hilde Cracks the Case.’ The stories are based on real cases she has worked on with a weave of fiction to them.

Shifting Parallels in ‘Home Before Dark’

Though ‘Home Before Dark’ is heavily inspired by the real-life event in Hilde Lysiak’s life, the show puts its own spin on the murder drama and does not follow everything that happened in real life verbatim. For instance, the negative comments she receives in school is an obfuscated portrayal of the comments she received in real life. Besides, some subplots are more dramatic than real.

The journalistic challenges depicted in the series are very akin to what it faces in real life as well. In today’s world, journalism holds much reverence and a variety of platforms, and yet, misinformation continues to be on the rise. As Matt points out, it is important to differentiate real news from gossips that serve no purpose. It perhaps tries to explore the ideal behind journalism that is often corporatized or serves an agenda.

Nonetheless, the drama is a torch to all those who appreciate and promote citizen journalism. The show blends well with both young and adult crowds. The thematic scope of the series includes optimism, bravery, and family support. It is interesting to see how the series reveal how empowering journalism can be.

Read More: Where was Home Before Dark Filmed

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