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Andrew Garfield Investigates a Murder in True Crime Under the Banner of Heaven Teaser

Andrew Garfield looking upset as Detective Pyre in Under the Banner of Heaven

It is Andrew Garfield’s year, and that is continuing with a new FX series called Under the Banner of Heaven. Based on the novel of the same name by Jon Krakauer, the story follows the real-life murder of Brenda and Erica Lafferty by Ron and Dan Lafferty. The story isn’t an easy one to digest and is still a case that is widely talked about in the Utah area.

Garfield is playing Detective Pyre, who was also an elder of the Latter Day Saints church, who faces a conflict of faith in the midst of exploring the murder of Brenda and Erica and its clear connections to the Lafferty family and their religion.

“The evidence points to things and beliefs that I’ve only ever heard whisperings about,” Garfield narrates. “I wonder how something so horrific could have come to pass.” And it is a clear look into both the real crime and how the show is going to tackle the light the case shined on religion

The cast is filled with incredibly talented stars. Daisy Edgar-Jones is starring as Brenda Lafferty, with Ron and Dan Lafferty being played by Sam Worthington and Wyatt Russell. The rest of the cast includes Denise Gough, Billy Howle, Gil Birmingham, Adelaide Clemens, Rory Culkin, Seth Numrich, Chloe Pirrie, Sandra Seacat, and Christopher Heyerdahl.

The truth

The real-life crime committed by Ron and Dan Lafferty was a gruesome demonstration of not only dangerous subsets of religion but the lengths some will go to in order to do something in the name of God. Both of the Lafferty men were members of School of Prophets, which is a small fundamentalist Mormon group. Ron was a self-proclaimed prophet and said that God told him to remove multiple people, including his sister-in-law and niece. While Dan served as his own counsel during the trial, he was eventually sentenced to two life sentences without parole. Ron, who attempted suicide while awaiting trial, eventually died of natural causes while awaiting his death sentence, which was death by firing squad, by Ron’s choice.

The novel is based on interviews conducted with Dan Lafferty, and from what I can tell, the reasoning behind the tension that led to the murders comes from Brenda’s disagreement with Ron and Dan’s fundamentalist ways and her refusal to believe Ron was a prophet. The murders, which took place in 1984, shook everyone involved, including Garfield’s character, LDS elder Detective Pyre. Their faith was challenged, and the case has been a fascination for many in the Utah area and across the United States, thanks in part to Krakauer’s book.

(image: FX)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.