Love & Death

101Crime18 V

What to watch after watching Love & Death

30 May 2023
Your small-town crime show watchlist.
man and woman walking through amusement park

There are no spoilers in history. But even if you knew exactly what happened in the true tale of Candy Montgomery, the HBO Max miniseries based on her story, Love & Death, cannot have failed to keep you on the edge of your seat. This was in large part thanks to thoughtful directing, a great soundtrack, and an excellent cast that included Elizabeth Olsen as Candy and Jesse Plemons as her lover, Allan Gore.

With only seven episodes, three of which dropped in one go, it was over within a month. If watching Love & Death has you hankering for more small-town American crime shows to binge, there are several to choose from.

A Friend of the Family
This new miniseries cleaves most closely to Love & Death in that it’s also based on a true story, set in the ‘70s, and follows a churchgoing family – but it’s a much darker tale. Candy Montgomery’s was a crime of passion no one saw coming. Despite her affair with the victim’s husband, she was a model housewife, mother, friend, and churchgoer. But the events in A Friend of the Family are an audacious slow burn from a disturbed man who kidnaps his friends’ daughter not once, but twice, all the while manipulating both the young girl and her whole family.

Watch the final episode of A Friend of the Family on Monday 5 June at 20:00 on M-Net or catch up on the series with DStv.

If you want something that cleaves even closer to Love & Death, there’s the Hulu series on Disney+ which tells the exact same story. This version was released just last year. Similar stories being released within a hair’s breadth of one other is not unusual. It’s happened many times before: think Showgirls and Striptease, Dante’s Peak and Volcano, Antz and A Bug’s Life, Deep Impact and Armageddon, and Octopussy and Never Say Never Again, which saw Roger Moore and Sean Connery playing James Bond in different movies in the same year.

In this version of Candy Montgomery’s story, she’s played by Jessica Biel. The actress’s look is modelled more closely on the real Candy and the show has an overall darker tone and a less linear narrative. Love & Death uses music quite differently, including lots of disco hits, and it’s just these kinds of details that distinguish the telling and make both worth watching.

A Friend of the Family takes you to Idaho and Love & Death to Texas. While not based on a true crime (instead it’s inspired by the 1996 film of the same name), the anthology show Fargo focuses on all kinds of crime, using different (not always small) towns as settings: from Bemidji, Minnesota in season 1 to Kansas City, Missouri in season 4, dealing with murder, theft, and organised crime along the way. The second season stars Jesse Plemons.

Stream Fargo seasons 1 – 4 on Showmax.

The Outsider
Based on the book by Stephen King, this story is of course fictional. It also has elements of the supernatural, so if you prefer your crime stories to be of the close-to-home variety, you might want to give this one a miss. But if all you’re looking for is small-town crime, you’ll get it in this Georgia-set show. Bonus if you like detectives featuring prominently, because this one’s full of ‘em.

Stream The Outsider on Showmax.

Sharp Objects
Maybe you’re not into Stephen King but prefer Gillian Flynn. If you’re a fan, you’ll want to watch this adaptation of her book Sharp Objects. But you don’t need to have read the book, because this psychological thriller has plenty to keep you gripped. It’s led by Amy Adams who plays a crime reporter covering the murder of two girls in her hometown, in this case, a fictional place called Wind Gap.

Stream Sharp Objects on Showmax.

True Detective
Like Fargo, this is an anthology series delving into different murders in different towns, some fictional, some not. There are three seasons, and tonally they’re all quite different, so you may find yourself enjoying one season more than another – but that’s often the case with anthology shows. A fourth season, subtitled Night Country, is on its way. It's set in Alaska and stars Jodie Foster.

Stream True Detective seasons 1 – 3 on Showmax.

Missed Love & Death? Catch up with DStv here or stream it on Showmax here.