Is Ragdoll Based on a True Story?

The AMC+ original crime thriller series ‘Ragdoll’ follows the surfacing of the titular serial killer. The assailant is known for dismembering the bodies of the victims and sewing them back together to form a grotesque “ragdoll.” A group of detectives led by DC Lake Edmonds (Lucy Hale) and outlandish DS Nathan Rose (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) investigates the serial murders.

The killer taunts the police by targeting Nathan as the next victim. While Nathan is excited, the killer is seemingly breathing down their necks. The gripping premise leads to a dark and disturbing mystery fraught with twists and turns. While interesting interactions between criminals and law enforcement have often made the news headlines, you may seek to know whether this show is based on actual incidents. In that case, let us probe further into the matter.

Is Ragdoll Based on A True Story?

No, ‘Ragdoll’ is not based on a true story. Apparently, there is no known serial killer in the history of criminology who makes macabre dolls out of the victims. Freddy Syborn created the series, collaborating with actress-writer Florence Keith-Roach and Kara Smith to develop the bulk of the screenplay. In fact, the series is based on the book of the same name by author Daniel Cole. ‘Ragdoll’ is the first out of three books in the author’s bestselling series ‘Fawkes and Baxter,’ the other two being ‘Hangman’ and ‘Endgame.’

At the time of the book’s release, critics and publishers touted it as “pulse-racing,” and there is no doubt that the series does justice to the original material. A screenplay writer for six years, Daniel Cole was still awaiting his big break after many rejections. For ‘Ragdoll,’ he altered the form to a novel and was expressively fortunate that it worked out well.

Cole discussed his writing process shortly before the book’s release in early 2017. He revealed that he usually conceives a beginning and an end and then continues to build the story on a chapter-to-chapter basis. So, for the book that inspired the series, the author only had a few major plot points in mind, and the rest of the story fell into place accordingly. However, after finishing the book, Cole drew up a spider diagram to ensure that he tied all the loose ends. According to him, the first draft of a book typically takes approximately nine months to write. And that is followed by rewriting and editing, which he described as an endless process.

When asked whether Cole’s life experiences inspired parts of ‘Ragdoll,’ he admitted that no author can craft a work of fiction without incorporating aspects of their life. He also recollected that his time working in the ambulances shaped some of the most visceral scenes in the book. The dry and dark sense of humor that he picked up in the emergency services also figures in the storyline.

However, as Cole assured, writing the drab office scenes – ones he feared writing the most – ended up becoming the most entertaining. In these scenes, he had free reign to give shades to characters and insert some much-needed humor. The book was published in 2017, and in February 2021, AMC and Alibi optioned the story for a thriller series. Soon, Syborn came on board to pen the screen adaptation, and production started in Spring 2021.

Taking everything into consideration, it is safe to say that the events in the series have no counterparts in true crime events. However, history has proven that it is not uncommon for serial killers to operate on their victims’ bodies. A prime example is Ed Gein or the “Plainfield Ghoul,” who allegedly used to make leggings from the human skin of the leg. So, we can vouch that the present series lends a realistic lens to investigate the aberrations of a criminal mind, albeit through a fictional narrative.

Read More: Where Is Ragdoll Filmed?