Saint X: Is the TV Show Inspired by a Real Incident?

The irrevocable trauma that warps a family in a lifetime of woe and has lifelong implications is precisely what sets the tone in ‘Saint X’. Created by Leila Gerstein, the Hulu series focuses on the upended life of the Thomas family as they vacation on an island in the Caribbean Sea called Saint X. When Alison, the elder daughter of the family, ventures out with the locals on the final night of the family’s getaway, volatile changes ensue. Discovered dead the next morning, the family’s pleasant fun is soon upturned by the harrowing event.

The show follows suit 15 years after the incident and showcases Alison’s now-adult sister living in Brooklyn. One day she comes across one of the suspects in her sister’s death, which reignites her passion for finding out the truth about her sister’s untimely passing. A tale of woe, loss, privilege and class, ‘Saint X’, deals with several pertinent and relative issues that compel viewers to wonder whether or not the series is based on a true crime.

Saint X is a Fictional Story

No, ‘Saint X’ is not based on a true story. The television show is based on the fictional book by Alexis Schaitkin of the same name. Created and written by Leila Gerstein, the series emanates the essence of a true crime where untethered strings cumulate into cold cases. However, the story is still based on a fictional book and is premised in a fictional setting. Seven years younger than Alison, Claire Thomas’ benign vacation soon turns into a lifetime of pain and horror when her 18-year Princeton-going sister is found dead.

15 years later, Claire’s life in Brooklyn takes yet another turn when she chances upon one of the suspects in her sister’s death, which had become a cold case. While the series looks at the journey of a sister’s quest for truth, its life-like similarities keep viewers wondering about the actual inspiration of the narrative. A gravely similar case that made the news headlines in 2005 also makes viewers wonder whether the character of Alison is real or not.

The story of Natalee Holloway, an 18-year-old high school student on a school trip to Aruba, relays a similarly devastating tale. One night when her friends ventured out to a bar in the downtown area, nothing peculiarly odd happened. However, when Natalee left the bar with three young local men around 1:30 am on May 30, 2005, everything changed.

When the class trip was about to leave Aruba the next morning, Natalee didn’t turn up at the designated departure spot, spiking a search that involved the FBI. Like Alison, Natalee Holloway disappeared without a trace. Unlike the series, however, her remains were never found despite a contingent of volunteers, the FBI and the Dutch military on the search.

What makes Alison and Natalee’s stories remarkably similar is their ages and trajectory of cases. While ‘Saint X’ is an unreal island, it is set in the Caribbean Sea, precisely where Aruba is located, which is where Natalee Holloway disappeared forever. Other dissimilarities in the two stories arise from conviction. While Alison’s younger sister Claire goes on the hunt to locate the murderer and find the truth about her sister’s death, Natalee’s killer was never convicted.

Consequently, the similar premises of the story and reality have led viewers to wonder whether or not the story is based on the case of Natalee Holloway. While Natalee’s case had been closed, the same does not follow suit in ‘Saint X’. Claire’s trepidations that encompass her complete focus perfectly encapsulate grieving without closure.

Without the truth about her sister’s sudden disappearance and death, Claire is left grasping at straws and wondering where it all began. As such, when she follows one of the prime suspects in her sister’s death, a legion of changes ensues. So, even though the intricate psychological drama weaved in ‘Saint X’ may seem true, it is based on a fictional story giving creators the creative liberty to accentuate the storyline.

Read More: Saint X: Is Emily AKA Claire Thomas Based on a Real Person?