Is 'Love & Death' the same as 'Candy'? Here's what true-crime fans need to know

'Love & Death' premieres on HBO Max this week, but TV fans are convinced they've heard this story before

Is Love & Death the same as Candy? Pictured: Jessica Biel as Candy Montgomery in Candy and Elizabeth Olsen as Candy Montgomery in Love & Death
(Image credit: Tina Rowden/Hulu Jake Giles Netter/HBO Max)

True-crime fans are experiencing a case of déjà vu: is Love & Death the same as Candy, or do these TV adaptations tell different stories? 

They are in fact, one and the same, with slight variations. Candy, executive produced and starring Jessica Biel, dropped on Hulu in May 2022. Now, Love & Death, starring Elizabeth Olsen in the lead role, will premiere on HBO Max on Thursday, April 27. Both miniseries dive into the infamous real-life backstory of Candy Montgomery, the small-town, church-going Texas mom who stabbed her friend 41 times with an ax after having an affair with her husband.

Given that it's such a scandalous true story, it's no surprise that multiple outlets would want to recreate it, but back-to-back? Surprisingly, this is actually a common occurrence for true crime projects: in 2022, we took a deep dive into the inner workings of the FLDS under Warren Jeffs in Netflix's Keep Sweet, Pray and Obey, while 2023's Prisoner of The Prophet on Discovery+ tackled the same subject. This was also the case with Netflix's Waco: American Apocalypse and Showtime's Waco: The Aftermath, both of which premiered in 2023 to mark the massacre's 30th anniversary. Now, we can expect the same treatment for Candy.

Is 'Love & Death' the same as 'Candy'?

Yes, both Love & Death and Candy focus on the shocking real-life murder enacted by Candy Montgomery. Each series shows how Candy interacts with her friend Betty Gore, whom she met at church, as well as with Betty's family. After carrying out a year-long affair with Betty's husband, Allan Gore, Candy is confronted by her friend about the allegations...which takes a fatal turn for Betty. 

The Candy Montgomery trial actually found our defendant claiming self-defense, and ultimately, she was acquitted. Both series detail how the Gore and Montgomery families intertwine, as well as Candy's infidelity and the trial, but reviews claim Candy is the darker of the two. Beyond the tone, the former series has five episodes, whereas Love & Death will have. And though there are different actors and different interpretations, it seems both Jessica Biel and Elizabeth Olsen share one thing in common for their character: their empathy. 

"I wanted to create this person that you really, really were conflicted about," Biel told Variety. "You connect on a human level in some way. You just have to have empathy. I didn’t play this character like she was the villain."

Meanwhile, Olsen told Entertainment Weekly: "It's actually more about the emotional conflict of this woman and the time she is living and less about playing something demonic." 

Watch the 'Love & Death' trailer:

Have a look at what you can expect this spring from Love & Death: it's definitely not an easygoing series, that's for sure. The first three episodes will be available immediately on April 27, and each subsequent episode will be released weekly on Thursdays through May 25. 

Who is in the 'Love & Death' cast?

Other actors alongside Olsen's Montgomery include: 

  • Lily Rabe as Betty Gore
  • Krysten Ritter as Sherry Cleckler
  • Jesse Plemons as Allan Gore
  • Tom Pelphrey as Don Crowder
  • Patrick Fugit as Patrick Montgomery 

Watch the 'Candy' trailer:

Should you need something else to binge, Candy is available to stream in full on Hulu. Here's a little look at the 2022 project:  

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.