In 1984, a small community outside of Salt Lake City was rocked when Brenda Lafferty, age 24, and her 15-month-old daughter, Erica, were found brutally murdered in their home. The investigation turned up disturbing revelations about Lafferty’s extended family that shook The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to its core.
Hulu’s seven-episode drama Under the Banner of Heaven is based on Jon Krakauer’s true-crime bestseller and adapted for TV by Oscar-winning writer Dustin Lance Black (Milk). Andrew Garfield plays Detective Jeb Pyre, who has a crisis of his own Mormon faith as he works to make sense of the unimaginable. The stellar cast also includes Sam Worthington, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Wyatt Russell, Denise Gough, Billy Howle, Gil Birmingham, Adelaide Clemens and Rory Culkin.
Black, a gay man raised in the LDS Church, wanted to explore the dangers of extreme fundamentalism that can foment in any religion and inspire people to commit acts of violence and oppression. “If you do a deep dive into any religion, but I think particularly the Mormon religion, there’s only two ways to go: It is either going to become a musical comedy or it’s going to turn to terror and horror,” Black says. “And there are things that need to be changed in this church so that’s not the case anymore. That’s how I feel. And this show presents some of those things that need to be changed.”
Under the Banner of Heaven premieres on Hulu Thursday, April 28, with the first two episodes. Subsequent episodes debut Thursdays.