Is Irreverent Based on a True Story?

Image Credit: Mark Rogers/Matchbox Productions/Peacock

Created by Paddy Macrae, Peacock’s ‘Irreverent’ tells the story of Paulo Keegan (Colin Donnell), a mob negotiator from Chicago, who kills his boss’ son and ends up going on the run. On his way to Australia, he meets Mackenzie Boyd ( P. J. Byrne), a priest whose wife has left him recently. When Mackenzie steals the $1.8 million that Paulo had with him and disappears, the latter has no choice but to go to the very place where Mackenzie was originally heading, Clump, a small coastal town in Queensland, Australia. Meanwhile, Paulo’s boss, Lorenzo, and Lorenzo’s wife Antoinette send their best assassin after him.

‘Irreverent’ is ultimately a show about two men — Paulo and Mackenzie. If the former is on a journey of self-discovery, the latter experiences his life’s worst crisis of faith. If you are wondering whether ‘Irreverent’ is inspired by actual events, we got you covered.

Is Irreverent a True Story?

No, ‘Irreverent’ is not based on a true story, though it has elements of truth embedded into its narrative. Macrae shares the writing credits for the show with Andrew Knight, Andrew Anastasios, Angela McDonald, Dan Knight, and Darlene Johnson. In an interview with Precinct TV (Fansided), Macrae stated how his personal experiences inspired the show.

Image Credit: Mark Rogers/Matchbox Productions/Peacock

“I was born and raised as a preacher’s kid…I’ve got two sisters and a brother and we grew up with my mum and my dad in the manse… So we kind of grew up surrounded by these stories of beauty and laughter and pain,” the series creator explained.

As for the mob element in the show, it was done in an effort to give the narrative more complexity and take it to the next level. “I thought what an incredible setting for a drama…but what I wanted to do was elevate the premise and the idea in a way,” Macrae explained. “Rather than making a show about a small-town reverend…was to take this idea that success in connection isn’t about the study and theological knowledge of a reverend. It’s about their ability to show love.”

Macrae continued, “So we thought wouldn’t it just be funny and suspenseful and interesting to take a criminal who had the skillset of a crook at the top of their game and forced them into a role of community leadership whereas opposed to being neutral they had to take sides for the first time in their life.”

According to Donnell, Macrae based the tone of ‘Irreverent’ on ‘Northern Exposure,’ the CBS series originally aired from 1990 to 1995. “I loved that show when I was growing up,” the ‘Arrow‘ actor told New York Post. “It was one of the shows that really stuck with me into adulthood. There’s so much humor and heart to our story, it’s pretty parallel to what was going on in that show as well. I think there’s so much to be mined from dropping a character into a completely unknown circumstance and making him a real fish out of water.”

‘Irreverent’ marks Macrae’s first project as showrunner and creator. Executive producer Debbie Lee revealed to Precinct TV that Macrae, who had been associated with the production company Matchbox Company, had the story for a long time and was finally ready to create it.

Image Credit: Mark Rogers/Matchbox Productions/Peacock

In a statement, Macrae called ‘Irreverent’ a show about “the power and importance of community, and we hope that people feel the love and the belief with which the show was made,” adding, “Producing Irreverent has been a momentous undertaking, but it’s been endlessly rewarding too. The team and I feel deeply proud of the result and cannot wait to share it with the rest of the world.” Clearly even though ‘Irreverent’ has elements realities in it, the Peacock show is not based on a true story.

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