Netflix’s Triptych: Is the Series Based on Real Life?

Netflix’s ‘Triptych’ (‘Triada’ in Spanish) is a thriller series that follows the story of a set of triplets who were separated at birth. The story begins with Becca, a forensic expert, who arrives at a crime scene where the victim happens to have the same face as hers. She becomes intrigued about the identity of this person, but the mystery surrounding her only deepens as Becca starts to dig further into the secrets that had been around her all this time. Created by Leticia López Margalli, the series creates a haunting picture of three people who realize that nothing was ever what it seemed in their lives. If you are wondering whether such a thing could really happen to someone, then here’s what you should know about it. SPOILERS AHEAD

Triptych: True Story of Three Brothers

Yes, ‘Triptych’ is inspired by the true story of Robert Shafran, Eddy Galland, and David Kellman, who didn’t know that they were part of a set of triplets until they were nineteen years old. Their story was captured in Tim Wardle-directed documentary ‘Three Identical Strangers’. Born on July 12, 1961, their mother was a teenage girl who got pregnant after having a fling on her prom night. She decided to give up the triplets to an adoption agency, named Louise Wise Services. The triplets remained there for six months and then, were separately adopted.

Image Credit: Sundance Institute/ Youtube

It was by chance that they discovered of each other’s existence, even though they were brought up within 100 miles of each other. In 1980, Robert Shafran arrived at Sullivan Community College where he had recently enrolled. It was his first day on campus, but it looked like everyone already knew him. He discovered that they were mistaking him for someone else, who turned out to be his twin, Eddy Galland. Soon after, they discovered that they were not twins, but triplets.

Meeting each other was a wonderful experience for all three of them and they had a great time, knowing each other and finding out all the things they had in common. Their story also caught fire in the media and they appeared in the likes of ‘The Phil Donahue Show’ and ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’. They also ended up opening a steakhouse called Triplets Roumanian Steakhouse in Soho, New York.

Meanwhile, the adoptive parents tried to find out why they were not notified about their children being one of the triplets during the adoption process. The agency gave excuses like it wasn’t easy to have triplets adopted as a set. Soon, however, it turned out that the triplets had been a part of an experimental study. One of the criteria for being able to adopt these children was that the parents would have to allow regular visits by researchers and doctors as they were a part of “a routine childhood-development study”.

Eventually, it was revealed that the agency had been approached by researchers who wanted them to intentionally separate the triplets and put them in different social strata. One of them went to an upper-middle-class family, another to a middle class, and the last one to the working class. The point of the experiment was to focus on the “nature versus nurture” argument. While the researchers kept defending their actions, the experiment had adverse effects on the lives of the triplets, with all of them suffering from mental health issues. In 1995, one of the triplets, Eddy Galland, died by suicide.

‘Triptych’ uses this premise to tell the story of Becca, Aleida, and Tamara. The bottom line of their story remains the same: the triplets are separated as a part of the “nature vs. nurture” study. The circumstances in which they meet and how the rest of the story shapes are actually quite different from the real-life case of the American triplets. With the way the story turns out, it is clear that while the creators of the show might have based it on the real story and used several aspects of it, ‘Triptych’ is told from a fictional lens where suspense and thrill take precedence, and the show charts its own original path.

Read More: Where is Netflix’s Triptych Filmed?