A Murder at the End of the World: Is Lee Andersen Inspired by a Former Hacker?

In FX on Hulu’s psychological thriller series ‘A Murder at the End of the World,’ protagonist Darby Hart idolizes Lee Andersen, a hacker and coder who paved the way for a new generation of women to enter the world of hacking. When Darby investigates unsolved murders, she uses several tricks/ways conceived by Lee, which displays how much the latter influenced the former. When the sleuth receives an invitation to take part in Andy Ronson’s retreat, Lee’s presence in the event also influences her decision to accept the invitation. The life story of Lee is highly intriguing enough to make one find out whether she is based on a real hacker who fell into oblivion!

Lee Andersen: Real or Fictional?

Lee Andersen is not based on a real hacker. The fictional character was conceived by creators Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij for the series. “For better or for worse, we tend not to model people after real people, and we tend not to think of actors when we’re writing because I noticed that if I do that, I sort of am substituting the actor’s charisma or the real person’s charisma for what I’m writing on the page. And I end up not being able to create as robust of a character,” Marling told Elle about the decision to not create characters, including Lee, based on real people.

However, Marling and Batmanglij’s research into the tech world did help them conceive Lee authentically. They received help from their friend Moxie Marlinspike, the cryptographer who created Signal, as well. “We try to do research on worlds but to try to leave it for the character to come alive on the page itself. And we had our friend, Moxie Marlinspike, who built the app Signal. It’s like an end-to-end encrypted messaging system. We learned a lot from him about that early hacker world that Bill and Darby are also a part of, which has a real community online,” Marling added.

Lee is characterized as the bridge between Darby and the murder that happens at Ronson’s retreat. The former hacker’s presence at the retreat motivates Darby to take part in the same. When the murder happens, they team up together to unravel the truth behind the crime as well. The unexpected partnership between Darby and Lee is inspired by the comradeship that exists between tech enthusiasts like the duo. After researching technology-related communities and forums, Marling and Batmanglij were convinced that truth finders like Darcy or Lee do not necessarily have to complete their missions alone.

“That’s what ultimately was the most appealing to us about amateur sleuthdom, the idea that the amateur sleuths don’t really go it alone. Part of how they function is that they do it together,” Marling told Vanity Fair. “That’s the version of technology that’s promising and powerful, the idea that it can spur collective action or unite people in a way they haven’t been able to unite before,” the co-creator added. Although Lee is fictional, the traces of the character can be found in several real-life hackers and amateur detectives who set out to solve intriguing mysteries.

Read More: Is Andy Ronson’s Hotel in A Murder at the End of the World Real? Where is it Located?