When it comes to true crime, there’s no doubt that we have our fair share of pop culture offerings to satisfy even the most curious of minds.
Lately, all eyes have been on retelling the stories of swindlers and fake heiress’, but perhaps it’s time to draw some focus back onto historical crimes—particularly, ones committed due to the ramifications of poorly managed mental health.
Thanks to Apple TV+, a new series is here to cover just that, titled The Crowded Room.
Created by A Beautiful Mind screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, the anthology series will “explore inspirational stories of those who have struggled, and learned to successfully live with, mental illness”, as per the streaming giant’s statement.
But what exactly does that entail? Here, everything you need to know about the new series, from the plot to the stellar cast and where to watch it in Australia.
The Minds Of Billy Milligan by Danny Keyes, $23.75 at Booktopia.
What Is The Plot Of The Crowded Room?
The Crowded Room has been partially inspired by Goldsman’s own personal life, who is the child of two clinical child psychologists and grew up in a group home for children suffering from schizophrenia.
Based on Danny Keyes’ 1981 biography, The Minds Of Billy Milligan, the TV series chronicles the life of Billy Milligan—changed to Danny Sullivan for the show—who was found not guilty of multiple rape charges in Columbus, Ohio. Despite his arrest, Milligan had the charges against him dropped after his lawyers argued that his dissociative identity disorder stopped him from being aware of what he was doing. As a result, Milligan was committed to a psychiatric hospital for a decade.
Given the storyline’s sensitive nature, it’s easy to see why thrillers and dramas that focus on crimes from untreated mental health issues can feel taboo. In this case, a direct look into the experiences of living with an illness with potentially destructive effects can offer more education than we could have ever imagined.
Who Is Cast In The Crowded Room?
If the storyline wasn’t enough to convince you to watch, then perhaps its A-list cast will. Tom Holland of Spiderman fame stars in the show’s lead role as Danny Sullivan, along with The Dropout star Amanda Seyfried, starring as a clinical psychologist involved in the case, who is also navigating life as a single mother outside of work.
More controversially, the casting of Shameless star Emmy Rossum has left many confused. The 36-year-old actress plays Sullivan’s mother who is desperately trying to support her son. Many online have pointed out that in reality, the actress is only 10 years older than a 26-year-old Holland, seemingly confirming that Hollywood has an active ageism problem. According to The Hollywood Reporter, they reported Rossum’s character as just being a woman “who is always looking for a man to fulfil her dreams of salvation.”