Content warning: This article discusses suicide.
The Girl From Plainville is the latest limited series to get everyone talking.
The series stars Elle Fanning and Colton Ryan as Michelle Carter and the late Conrad Roy III, with Chloë Sevigny, Norbert Leo Butz, and Cara Buono in supporting roles.
An eight-part series, The Girl From Plainville is based on Jesse Barron’s Esquire article of the same name and follows the true story of the relationship between Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy in the time leading up to his suicide.
After prosecutors found text messages from Carter which encouraged a hesitant Roy to end his life, Carter was charged with involuntary manslaughter.
The case quickly gained global attention as people debated whether someone could be held criminally accountable for a person’s suicide.
Carter’s case has already been the subject of the true-crime documentary I Love You, Now Die, which is streaming on BINGE, and has been given the Lifetime movie treatment with the film Conrad & Michelle: If Words Could Kill, which is available on Prime Video.
What Is the Real Story Behind ‘The Girl From Plainville’?
Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy first met in 2012 when they were both on holiday, visiting relatives. They began dating and had a romantic relationship for the two years leading up to Roy’s death in 2014, although the pair rarely saw one another.
In fact, although the couple lived only an hour away from one another, they only met up in person five times over those two years, with the rest of their relationship being carried out via phone calls, text messages and online.
On July 13th, 2014, Conrad Roy was found in his truck, dead by suicide in a K-Mart parking lot.
Was Michelle Carter to Blame for Conrad Roy’s Death?
Roy had been dealing with mental health issues for some time — Carter also struggled with depression and an eating disorder — and had made a previous suicide attempt in 2012 following his parents’ divorce.
Over the course of their relationship, Roy would often speak about ending his life, and Carter would dissuade him from completing the act and encourage him to seek help.
In June 2014, however, there was a shift in the pair’s dynamic, as text messages recovered by police revealed Carter had begun helping Roy plan his death, writing messages like “What about hanging yourself or stabbing yourself?” and, “Why don’t you just drink bleach?”
The case quickly became infamous when, in February 2015, Carter was charged with involuntary manslaughter in relation to Roy’s death.
According to a police report at the time, Carter “not only encouraged Conrad to take his own life, she questioned him repeatedly as to when and why he hadn’t done it yet”.
Due to the nature of the couple’s relationship being held primarily via text, phone and email, police had 317 pages of communication between Carter and Roy that became part of the investigation.
“I thought you wanted to do this,” Carter wrote shortly before Roy’s death. The time is right and you’re ready, you just need to do it! You can’t keep living this way. You just need to do it like you did last time and not think about it and just do it babe. You can’t keep doing this every day.”
In a text exchange with friend Samantha Boardman that took place two months after Roy’s death, Carter wrote that she “could of [sic] stopped him” from completing the act, but didn’t.
“I was on the phone with him and he got out of the car because it was working and he got scared and I f**king told him to get back in,” she wrote. “I could of [sic] stopped him but I f**king did it. All I had to say was I love you.”
What Happened to Michelle Carter?
Facing up to 20 years in prison, Carter chose to waive her right to a jury trial. Although Carter’s team launched multiple appeals to have the case dismissed, the case proceeded, and Judge Lawrence Moniz found Carter guilty and sentenced her to two and a half years in prison.
After a lengthy appeals process, Carter’s sentence was reduced to 15 months in prison, which she began serving in February 2019. In late January 2020, she was released more than three months early due to good behaviour.
Jonathan Darling, a spokesperson for the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office where Carter was imprisoned, said in a statement that Carter was “a model inmate in Bristol County”.
“She has attended programs, had a job inside the jail, has been polite to our staff and volunteers, has gotten along with other inmates, and we’ve had no discipline issues with her whatsoever,” Darling added.
Carter will remain on probation until August 1st, 2022.
Where Can I Watch ‘The Girl from Plainville’?
The first three episodes of The Girl from Plainville premiered on March 30th are streaming now on Stan. The remaining five episodes will drop weekly on Stan each Wednesday.
If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, both of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7. You can also speak with someone confidentially at Headspace by calling 1800 650 890 or chat online here. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.