how accurate is black bird

Apple TVs hit TV show Black Bird tells the unbelievable true story of disgraced footballer Jimmy Keene and the serial killer he befriended.

Apple TV’s hit show Black Bird tells the incredible true story of one man’s attempt to uncover evil, yet fans of the show may still be shocked further still when they understand all the details of the Black Bird shows true story. The six-episode mini-series follows the story of Jimmy Keene and the serial killer Larry Hall, in a faithful adaptation of Keene and journalist Hillel Levin’s memoir In with the Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption. The show’s twists and turns may seem unbelievable, but the real-life events that inspired Black Bird happened more than 20 years ago and involved a serial killer who is still alive today.

Taron Egerton stars in Black Bird as James Keene, a high school football player sentenced to 10 years in prison for illegal gun possession and drug dealing. He’s joined in Black Bird by the mysterious and unsettling alleged serial killer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser). All the Black Bird characters are real, including Jake McLaughlins Gary Hall, Larry’s twin brother; Greg Kinnears relentless FBI agent Brian Miller, and Ray Liottas final on-screen appearance as Keene’s father James “Big Jim” Keene. However, what makes the miniseries so unique is that the Black Bird true story explained may be even stranger than the show.

Was James Keene a star high school football player?

Yes. James “Jimmy” Keene was a standout football player and captain of the Illinois Kankakee Eastridge High School football team in the early 1990s, as the Black Bird true story attests. He also lettered in wrestling and track. His book claims that the primary reason he began dealing marijuana was because his parents’ divorce had left them so impoverished that it was a survival tactic. Jimmy was drafted by big out-of-state colleges as a running back after high school, but leaving would have required him to give up his successful marijuana company. He was offered four football and wrestling scholarships, but he chose to stay near Chicago and play football for Triton, a community college with a well-known football program in the area, rather than accept one of them. The real James Keene is shown playing football for his high school at the age of 17.

Is Lauren McCauley a real FBI agent?

A retired FBI Special Agent Janet Butkus, who was employed by the FBI in Springfield, Illinois at the time James Keene went undercover in the maximum-security prison MCFP Springfield, served as a loose model for Sepideh Moafis’ character Lauren McCauley. Agent Butkus is the niece of the late Dick Butkus, a linebacker for the Chicago Bears. The miniseries fictionalizes her character a bit. Agent Janet Butkus wasn’t there when Keene was arrested or when he was given the opportunity to go undercover into MCFP Springfield, in contrast to Agent Lauren McCauley in the miniseries. Keene was presented with the deal by federal prosecutor Lawrence Beaumont, who was renamed Edmund Beaumont in the television series. Retired FBI Agent Janet Butkus served as a loose model for FBI Agent Lauren McCauley (Sepideh Moafi). During our investigation into the true story of Black Bird, we discovered that Janet Butkus, a real FBI agent, did pose as James Keene’s girlfriend when she visited him at MCFP Springfield to get updates on his undercover operations. According to Keene’s memoir, Janet (referred to as Janice in the memoir) even gave him a kiss to help seal their cover. Janet Butkus retired from the FBI in 2016.

Is Joe Williamson’s character, CO Carter, based on a real prison guard?

Yes. In response to the query, “Is Black Bird accurate?” we discovered that Jimmy was befriended by Genovese crime family boss Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, who counseled him against hanging around with child killers such as Larry Hall. The Chin would go to Jimmy’s cell, play outside bocce ball, and share breakfast with him. Jimmy found it difficult to communicate with Larry during the day as a result, so he started calling Larry’s cell at night. The Chin gained the moniker “The Oddfather” for strolling the streets of New York City while wearing only his bathrobe before going to prison. James Keene’s attempts to spend time with Larry Hall were impeded by his friendship with Vincent “The Chin” Gigante.


How much of black bird was true?

While the show accurately depicts some of Larry Hall’s criminal activities, including the kidnapping of Jessica Roach, it leaves out details about other possible crimes he may have been involved in.

What happened to Jimmy Keene and Larry Hall?

The U.S. Attorney and FBI rewarded Keene’s efforts in 1996 with early release and a completely clean record. Based on the new evidence Keene uncovered, Larry Hall’s appeal was denied. Hall remains in prison and has confessed to over twenty murders during his incarceration.

Is Jimmy Keene Married?

Jim Keene’s true loves were his wife Alice, their son Sean, his two granddaughters, every aspect of teaching and making music, mentoring future music educators, and the game of golf.

What’s the story behind blackbird?

When discussing the song, McCartney has said that the lyrics were inspired by hearing the call of a blackbird in Rishikesh, India, and by racial tension in the Southern United States.