‘Candy’ on Hulu tells story of real-life murder that shocked the nation

A new limited series on Hulu called “Candy” takes us back to the late 1970s to a real crime that shocked Texas along with the rest of the nation.

Candy Montgomery stood accused of murdering one of her best friends and a fellow parishioner at the church they both attended. Jessica Biel stars in the title role, and a new episode will play out each evening through Friday.

Biel is famously married to Justin Timberlake, and stories about them can sometimes make people forget her considerable gifts as a performer.

“Candy” is great reminder, but the new show also takes her acting career to a new level. She began as the 14-year-old daughter of a minister in TV’s “7th Heaven.” The star is back in church this time, but under very different circumstances.

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Biel and Melanie Lynskey play best friends who are supposed to be God-fearing folk in Dallas circa 1978-80, but Candy Montgomery, who is married with children, betrays her friend Betty Gore by having sex with her pal’s husband.

The series is based on what are described as “disturbingly true events.” That’s no exaggeration, because in real life, Montgomery was charged and stood trial for the brutal murder of Gore.

“It was challenging, very challenging,” Biel said.

Both make us care about a couple of deeply troubled women. Playing someone who’s depressed is tough, Lynskey said.

“Because you’re putting yourself in the head space,” she said. “And it can be a bit difficult.”

Biel said while difficult, an actor can play a role without liking the character.

“I think you can play a character and not like the person,” she said. “I mean, there are aspects of characters I’ve played, including Candy, that I haven’t liked, but, but at the heart of it, at the foundation of it, I understand them and can find my way through and feel empathy for them in some way.”

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She accomplishes that and more. In fact, Biel and Lynskey give two of the most compelling and interesting performances on TV this year.

“Candy” isn’t so much about death and mayhem as it is about characters pushed to their limits. It’s not so much a whodunit as an explanation of why this tragedy could have happened.

“Candy” streams on Hulu, owned by Disney, the same parent company as this ABC station.

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