The Good Mothers Is Based on a Non-Fiction Book

Hulu’s ‘The Good Mothers’ is a British-Italian crime drama series focusing on the lives of different women involved with the infamous ‘Ndrangheta mafia in Calabria, Italy. However, these women take it upon themselves to take down the mafia by working with public prosecutor Anna Colace in the hope of a better future for themselves and their children. Directed by Julian Jarrold and Elisa Amoruso, the series presents some harrowing depictions of the inner workings of a mafia family. Therefore, viewers must wonder if ‘The Good Mothers’ is inspired by a true story.

The Inspiration Behind The Good Mothers

Yes, ‘The Good Mothers’ is based on a true story. The television series is an adaptation of author Alex Perry’s 2018 non-fiction book titled ‘The Good Mothers: The True Story of the Women Who Took on The World’s Most Powerful Mafia.’ The series is adapted for the screen by Stephen Butchard, who is known for his work on shows such as ‘Baghdad Central‘ and ‘The Last Kingdom.’

Perry’s novel explores the dark and violent criminal underworld activities of the ‘Ndrangheta, a mafia group operating mainly in the Calabria region of Italy. However, the book presents a female perspective on the world of crime by following the stories of three women who took a stand against the organized crime syndicate and worked with a public prosecutor to charge the criminals working for the ‘Ndrangheta mafia family.

The book primarily details the series of three women, namely Lea Garofalo, Giuseppina Pesce, and Maria Concetta Cacciola, who provided prosecutors with the evidence against the ‘Ndrangheta. Garofalo, in particular, hailed from a powerful family and was married to Carlo Cosco, a cocaine smuggler. However, she turned her back on the crime family and gave the prosecution vital evidence against the mafia. Garofalo was in witness protection for several years until 2009, when her husband and his brothers allegedly murdered her. The killers were brought to justice with the testimony of Garofalo’s daughter, Denise.

Meanwhile, Cacciola was born into a faction of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia and married at the age of 13. She had three children, one of whom was killed during a conflict of the ‘Ndrangheta. As a result, she became a key witness in the trial against the mafia. Despite entering witness protection, Cacciola was lured back to her family out of love for her children. She eventually died from swallowing acid, and her family is suspected of being behind her death.

On the other hand, Pesce came from the Pesce ‘ndrina clan of the ‘Ndrangheta. She is the daughter of crime boss Salvatore Pesce. Pesce was a key witness in the trial against the ‘Ndrangheta mafia in Rizziconi, Calabria. Pesce was placed in witness protection with her children, and her testimony was crucial in several high-ranking mafia members being imprisoned. However, her current whereabouts remain a secret to protect Pesce and her children from the ‘Ndrangheta.

Aside from the three women, the book also features the story of several public prosecutors, including Alessandra Cerreti, a state prosecutor in Calabria. However, the television series tells a fictionalized account of the real-life stories of these women who showed courage and stood up against the mafia. In the series, the character of Anna Colace is likely an amalgamation of the different public prosecutors mentioned in the book. Similarly, the names of some other characters have likely also been changed, and certain events have been dramatized.

Despite the narrative following individual stories of different women, they are connected together by the shared theme of motherhood and the desire to protect their children from the criminal underworld. As a result, the characters feel grounded in reality, and their motivations are relatable to the audience. Moreover, the creative team did not adhere to the tropes of the mafia subgenre and instead told the story through the perspective of seemingly ordinary women.

Ultimately, ‘The Good Mothers’ is a fictionalized retelling of the harrowing real-life circumstances faced by several women while trying to escape the violence and bloodshed caused by one of the most notorious mafia families in Italy. However, these women depict extraordinary courage as they are motivated by a desire to bring a change and protect their loved ones. As a result, the series has a strong emotional core that immerses viewers in the real-world conflicts and issues it tries to highlight.

Read More: Where is The Good Mothers Filmed?