'The Girl from Plainville': Hulu takes on the horrific real-life story

'The Girl from Plainville,' Hulu's latest series, brings life to a true tragedy—and the courtroom controversy it created

Elle Fanning as Michelle Carter in The Girl from Plainville, Hulu series
(Image credit: Steve Dietl/Hulu)

Blink and you'll mistake Elle Fanning for Michelle Carter. The Girl from Plainville, Hulu's latest series based on true events, is a hauntingly authentic retelling of a terrible tragedy. 

Similar to Inventing Anna, Michelle Carter's controversial behavior was exposed at the hands of an investigative journalist. An Esquire piece examined the teen's actions and involvement in her boyfriend's suicide, but matters in the case were not entirely black-and-white. 

Fanning, the star of Hulu's The Great, steps into this true-crime role for the streaming service's deep dive into one of America's most controversial stories. Here's what you need to know.

'The Girl from Plainville' Hulu: watch the trailer

Shown through a third-person point of view, The Girl from Plainville's trailer begins with the teen approaching her parents at breakfast to alert them of her boyfriend's death. But the young woman, who was a griever one minute, was considered a potential murderer the next.

After the discovery of the teens' text messages to one another—exchanges where Carter encourages her significant other to take his own life—the 17-year-old's world was turned upside down.

When is 'The Girl from Plainville' release date?

The series will be available for streaming on Hulu beginning Tuesday, March 29. The first three episodes will be available to viewers immediately, however, they'll have to tune in to see how it all unfolds. 

Subsequent episodes will debut each Tuesday until the eighth and final episode on May 3. Subscription options are available below.

'The Girl from Plainville' cast: who's who?

  • Elle Fanning as Michelle Carter
  • Colton Ryan as Conrad "Coco" Roy III
  • Chloë Sevigny as Lynn Roy
  • Norbert Leo Butz as Conrad "Co" Roy II
  • Cara Buono as Gail Carter
  • Kai Lennox as David Carter

Inside 'The Girl from Plainville' real story:

Two teens from Massachusetts crossed paths while on vacation in the Sunshine State in 2014. Though Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy III lived seemingly close to one another, they had only met in person a handful of times and communicated mainly through text messages. 

That's where the problem began. Carter, who knew Roy was in a bad emotional and mental state, encouraged him via text message to take his own life, a plan he had attempted several times beforehand. Carter knew what Roy was planning and, rather than turn to the authorities for help, she persuaded him to go forward with this awful plan—but was completely horrified when he actually did. 

Some of the messages are incredibly hard to process, especially for two young adults beginning what is supposed to be a happy relationship.

"You're so hesitant because you keep overthinking it and pushing it off. You just need to do it Conrad. The more you push it off, the more it will eat at you," one message read. 

Another stated: "I thought you wanted to do this. The time is right and you're ready, you just need to do it! You can't keep living this way. You just need to do it like you did last time and not think about it and just do it babe. You can't keep doing this every day."

Though Carter initially grieved alongside Roy's family, who was not entirely familiar with their son's girlfriend, things changed once the text messages between the two were exposed. A criminal case soon followed. Then Jesse Barron of Esquire, and the rest of America, pondered: Can words kill?  

Michelle Carter 2022: where is she now?

Carter was indicted by the state of Massachusetts in 2015 for involuntary manslaughter. She was sentenced two years later to just 15 months. She began serving time in 2019 and was released early in 2020 on good behavior. As of now, Carter is still serving five years on probation. 

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.