is big sky based on a true story
Source: ABC

Here's What Inspired ABC's New Series 'Big Sky'


Nov. 17 2020, Published 7:16 p.m. ET

Warning: This article contains some spoilers for ABC's Big Sky.

Your latest TV addiction is here with ABC’s Big Sky, a 10-episode neo-Western procedural thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. From creator and executive producer David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies, The Undoing), Big Sky follows two private detectives who team up to find two kidnapped teenagers who disappear one night on a Montana highway.

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With a cast that includes Katheryn Winnick (Vikings), Kylie Bunbury (Pitch, Game Night), and '90s heartthrob Ryan Phillippe (Cruel Intentions, Shooter), the series is based on the page-turner The Highway by C.J. Box. 

But with true crime being all the rage right now, many fans are wondering whether the plot of the show and book are also based on a true story.

is big sky based on a true story
Source: ABC
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Is 'Big Sky' based on a true story?

In good news for those who’ve read The Highway, the show does appear to stay true to the book and tackle the issues that are explored in the narrative, while making it relevant to our current socio-political landscape. 

That being said, neither The Highway nor its adaptation Big Sky is ripped from the headlines. 

With some sleuthing, the show's investigators soon uncover that the perpetrator is a truck driver who’s also responsible for a number of other girls missing in that same area. The detectives then have to race against the clock to find this trucker before any more girls meet the same fate.

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None of the characters, from the kidnapped girls to the private detectives, or even the perpetrator have any basis in reality and were all fictional characters that came from the mind of author C.J. Box. 

But audiences who believe that the story must be based on a true story aren't alone in thinking so. 

is big sky based on a true story
Source: ABC
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When the book came out back in 2013, writer C.J. Box clarified in an interview that the idea for the story came to him when he read about a real-life case in which the FBI were looking for a murderer who worked as a trucker. For C.J. Box, the story hit close to home since he had a young daughter who was attending the University of Wyoming at the time. 

He said that she had to make a similar drive on a highway with a lot of truckers at a time when there were about 700 missing women around the U.S. 

In fact, there were so many missing women that the FBI even formed the Highway Serial Task Force to catch what they estimated was a ring of 10 to 15 truckers who were preying on sex workers around the country. But as C.J. Box explained, these cases were extremely hard to solve because by the time the agency found out about a missing girl, the suspect could already be several states away from where the crime had taken place.

Watch new episodes of Big Sky every Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

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