If ever there were a trailer to make you feel like you actually have exactly enough friends and never need to encounter (and background check) a new one, it’s Peacock’s latest A Friend Of The Family teaser. The snippet, which premiered at last night’s Emmys, has so much sickly sweet Jake Lacy, so much balding Colin Hanks, and so many outfits so 1970s you’ll be looking over your shoulder to see if Ford is still president.
In A Friend Of The Family, Lacy plays the eponymous friend, Robert “B” Berchtold, of the eponymous family, the Brobergs. Heads of household Bob (Colin Hanks) and Mary Ann (Anna Paquin) Broberg first meet B in their tucked-away suburban neighborhood, and, indeed, friendly he is. B insists the Brobergs call him “brother,” takes their three daughters out for ice cream, and regularly compliments Mary Ann and Bob’s steadfast marriage. Lacy imbues the role with his signature all-American white guy swagger—how nice he is! How handsome and coiffed! How trustworthy behind the wheel of a coupe carrying your three darling daughters!
It must be obvious at this point, given all these outward good qualities, B is a dangerous psychopath. In one especially hilarious contrasting moment, the viewer is informed that B “doesn’t feel emotions the way that we do” alongside a clip of B dancing and admiring his look in a bedroom mirror. As someone who is by all accounts trying to kidnap the family’s eldest daughter Jan (the always booked and busy McKenna Grace), is flexing on himself Nick Miller-style really B’s most exemplary psychopathic trait?
After this many Ted Bundy biopics, the world should understand by now that being charming and having a clean-cut haircut actually doesn’t make you harmless. But A Friend Of The Family is based on an equally insane true story from the 1970s, chronicled in the 2017 documentary Abducted In Plain Sight.
The documentary features testimony from the real Jan, Bob, and Mary Ann, as well as Jan’s two younger sisters Karen and Susan. Jan was also reportedly heavily involved with A Friend Of The Family—showrunner Nick Antosca says in a statement he “could not and would not tell this story without Jan and her family’s blessing and participation.”
“I hope people will come away from the series with a deeper understanding of the family and say: ‘In that time, in that place, they were like me.’ They made terrible mistakes, but they loved their kids. And, a master manipulator took advantage of them...” Antosca says. “In the course of working on this story and talking with others who have worked on it, one thing has become clear: It’s more relatable than it first seems.” Alright, then—no more family friends for this writer.
A Friend Of The Family will be available for streaming on Peacock starting October 6.