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The scripted six-part series, premiering Oct. 6, tells the stranger-than-fiction story of Jan Broberg, who, as a child, was kidnapped multiple times by family friend and neighbor, Robert Berchtold, during the 1970s. Broberg not only lived to share her terrifying ordeal but acts as a producer on the limited series, along with her mother, Mary Ann Broberg.
The trailer (available at the top of the article) provides all the things one could hope for from a 1970s-based series, shag haircuts and all.
“As little girls, we talked and we listened around the dinner table every night. Mom and Dad were always there,” said Jan Broberg in a media release. “We were so safe, so loved, so carefree.”
But beyond the station wagons and family dinners lies the true story of the Idaho-based family and their friendship with the Berchtolds, whom they’d met at a local church in 1972. According to Jan Broberg, they did “hundreds of activities together” over the years, including barbecues, snowmobile trips, and all the things that made their lives seemingly perfect over the years.
The trailer reveals the Brobergs referred to the patriarch Robert Berchtold as “Brother B” and described him as being a part of their family.
“Then, on a normal afternoon, the father kidnapped me,” Jan explained. “And from age 12 to 16, I was sexually assaulted and severely brainwashed by this man who I trusted.”
Starring Academy Award winner Anna Paquin (The Piano, Almost Famous) as Mary Ann Broberg and Emmy Award nominee Jake Lacy (White Lotus, The Office) as Robert Berchtold, “A Friend of the Family” tells the “harrowing true story” spanning the years when Broberg was held against her will by the charismatic Berchtold.
“The Brobergs - devoted to their faith, family, and community - were utterly unprepared for the sophisticated tactics their neighbor used to exploit their vulnerabilities, drive them apart, and turn their daughter against them,” Peacock describes in a release. “This is the story of how their lives were permanently altered - and how they survived.”
One of the show’s characters comments that Berchtold had “all the hallmarks of a psychopathic personality,” per the new trailer. “Robert Berchtold doesn’t feel emotions the way that we do. He will lie and manipulate to get the only thing he wants.”
“There is no telling what he is capable of,” the trailer continues.
Showrunner and executive producer Nick Antosca, who created “The Act,” said he wanted to get beyond the surface of the Brobergs’ story and show viewers how “relatable” the story was.
“The series exists outside the typical categories of the genre,” Antosca said in the release. “It’s a thriller built around obsessive relationships, a family drama, and a nightmarish coming-of-age story.”
“A Friend of the Family” also stars Colin Hanks (Fargo, The Offer), Lio Tipton (The Edge of Sleep, Warm Bodies), as well as Hendrix Yancey and Mckenna Grace as a younger and older version of Jan Broberg, respectively.
The first three episodes of “A Friend of the Family” premiere on Oct. 6, on Peacock. New episodes will stream weekly thereafter.
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