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Crime News

New True Crime Drama, Based On The Kidnapping Of Jan Broberg, Coming To Peacock

Anna Paquin will star as kidnapping survivor Jan Broberg's mother Mary Ann Broberg, who was manipulated by their neighbor Robert Berchtold. It's a dramatized version of the true story most recently told in the documentary "Abducted In Plain Sight." 

By Gina Tron
Jan Broberg Anna Pacquin G

An upcoming Peacock crime drama will be based upon the true story of a girl who was abducted and brainwashed multiple times by her neighbor.

“A Friend of the Family'' has been ordered to become a straight-to-series for Peacock, the NBC Universal-backed streaming platform, the Hollywood Reporter reported on Tuesday. The scripted drama will be based upon the 1970s kidnapping of Idaho girl Jan Broberg by her neighbor Robert Berchtold. 

Berchtold had befriended Broberg’s family and then, when she was just 12, he kidnapped her, telling the family he was taking her horseback riding. He abducted her a second time two years later.  Berchtold had tried to convince Broberg that she was half-alien and that the alien species needed her to have a baby with Berchtold by the time she was 16. The bizarre and high profile case is also featured in the 2019 Skye Borgman documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight.”

Broberg survived the abductions and grew up to become an actor who has made dozens of television and film appearances.

Nick Antosca, who created The Act,” a series based on the Gypsy Rose Blanchard case, will serve as showrunner, writer and exec producer on “A Friend of the Family.” Anna Paquin will star as Broger’s mother Mary Ann Broberg, who realized much too late that she trusted the wrong friend of the family. Jake Lacy, who starred in “The White Lotus” will play Berchtold.  Colin Hanks and Lio Tipton will also star in the series. Jan Broberg and Mary Ann Broberg are both producers; Borgman will be a consultant, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The series promises to dive into the deranged, intricate and persuasive ways that Berchtold managed to earn the Broberg family's trust.

“Nick Antosca has created a compelling series in ‘A Friend of the Family’ that explores one family’s unimaginable experience with great insight and sensitivity,” Lisa Katz, president of scripted content for NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, told Variety. “We can’t wait to see Anna Paquin, Jake Lacy, Colin Hanks, and Lio Tipton bring these complex characters to life, and we know Peacock audiences will connect with this incredible story of deception and resilience.”