The Crowded Room: Is It Based on a True Story?

The Crowded Room is the latest psychological thriller series on Apple TV+ that stars Tom Holland as Danny Sullivan, a man who suffers from dissociative identity disorder and is accused of various crimes. We can always trust Apple TV+ to come up with some amazing content, so we’re here to help you know everything about it.

The series is based on “The Minds of Billy Milligan” by Daniel Keyes, a book which tells the real-life story of Billy Milligan, the first person in history to be found not guilty by reason of insanity due to his condition. However, the series is not completely based on real-life incidents.

The Crowded Room is not based on a true story, but it is inspired by the true story of Billy Milligan, who was arrested for kidnapping, rape, and robbery in 1975. In reality, Milligan claimed that he had no memory of the crimes and that they were committed by some of his 10 personalities.

He was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder and became the first person to be acquitted of a major crime due to his mental illness. The series is only loosely inspired by Milligan’s life, which means it may not be completely accurate with regard to real events.

If all of this interests you, you don’t have to wait much longer. The Crowded Room will premiere on Friday, June 9, 2023. The first three episodes will be accessible on the launch date, followed by a new episode every Friday until July 28, 2023.

You can watch the series exclusively on Apple TV Plus. Here’s everything you need to know about the real-life case that inspired The Crowded Room.

Who is Billy Milligan and what did he do?

The Crowded Room is based on a real-life personality, Billy Milligan, who was the subject of a highly publicized court case in Ohio in the late 1970s.

The Crowded Room: Is It Based on a True Story?
Tom Holland as Danny Sullivan in The Crowded Room

He committed several felonies and was later arrested for the rape of three women on the campus of Ohio State University. He also faced charges for three kidnapping incidents, three aggravated robberies, and the rape of three people on four occasions. He claimed that he had no memory of the incidents and that “some of his 10 personalities” were responsible for it.

Milligan was eventually diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, which was then called multiple personality disorder. He remains the first person to not face charges for a major crime due to his mental illness.

Milligan died at the age of 59 in the year 2014.

What were Milligan’s various personalities?

According to psychiatrists who examined Billy Milligan, his personalities emerged as a result of the severe physical and sexual abuse he suffered from his stepfather as a child.

The Crowded Room: Is It Based on a True Story?
Tom Holland in The Crowded Room

His personalities were a way of coping with the trauma and protecting the core personality from pain and harm. Each personality had a distinct name, age, gender, accent, skill, and role in the “family”. Some of the personalities were:

  • Arthur: an educated and sophisticated Englishman who was in charge of the shared body during intellectual tasks. He was one of the two personalities who could classify a person as an undesirable.
  • Ragen: a Yugoslavian “keeper of hate” who had a Slavic accent and could write and speak in Serbian. He was strong and appeared in dangerous situations. He admitted to committing robbery to support the family.
  • Adalana: a lesbian who wrote poetry, cooked, and played harmonica. She was accused of committing the three rapes without the knowledge of the other personalities.
  • David: an eight-year-old “keeper of pain” who took away the pain of others.
  • Christene: a three-year-old dyslexic girl who would punish herself when Billy got in trouble in school.
  • Christopher: Christene’s brother who knew how to play harmonica.
  • Tommy: an escape artist, landscape painter, sax player, and electronics expert. He was often confused with Allen.
  • Allen: a con man and manipulator. He was the only right-handed personality, painted portraits, played drums, and smoked cigarettes.
  • The Teacher: the sum of all 24 personalities. He recalled almost all the other personalities’ actions and thoughts.

Differences B/W The Crowded Room & Milligan’s Real Life Story

The Crowded Room does not follow the exact facts of the Billy Morgan case, but rather creates a fictional version with some changes. We cannot know what exactly they changed until the show premieres on Apple TV+, but here’s what we know so far.

First of all, the series moves the setting from Ohio to New York, and renames the main character as Danny Sullivan. The series also focuses on the psychological and emotional aspects of Danny’s condition, as well as the legal and social implications of his trial.

The Crowded Room: Is It Based on a True Story?
Tom Holland and Amanda Seyfield in The Crowded Room

Tom Holland plays Danny, Amanda Seyfried plays a detective who questions him, and Emmy Rossum plays his mother, Dorothy. The series tries to tell Danny’s story in a respectful and realistic way, while also making it an engaging drama for the audience.

I am guessing there will be certain factual changes they have to make, just like they do in any other show based on real-life incidents.

Watch The Crowded Room on:

About The Crowded Room

The Crowded Room is an American psychological thriller television miniseries created by Akiva Goldsman and inspired by the 1981 non-fiction novel The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes. 

A psychological thriller set in Manhattan in the summer of 1979, when a young man is arrested for a shocking crime—and an unlikely investigator must solve the mystery behind it.

Tom Holland, Amanda Seyfried, and Emmy Rossum lead a supporting cast that includes Sasha Lane, Will Chase, Lior Raz, Laila Robins, and Henry Eikenberry. The series airs on Apple TV+ on June 9, 2023.

Epic Dope Staff

Epic Dope Staff

Our talented team of Freelance writers - Always on the lookout - pour their energies into a wide range of topics bringing to our audience what they crave - fun up-to-date news, reviews, fan theories and much much more.


Leave a Reply