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Monsters take on many forms, as seen in a Halloween-themed Season 3 episode of “9-1-1.” And tragically, that’s true in real life, not just on television.
Ask anyone who works in emergency response and they’ll likely tell you Halloween is one of the busiest nights of the year. Such is the case for the 118 in “9-1-1,” who kick off the holiday by helping two boys who inadvertently recreated Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” when they threw rocks at a murder of crows.
Things quickly take a dark turn as significantly more serious calls start coming in after sunset, two of which directly mirror some chilling, real-life true crime cases.
As Evan Buckley (Oliver Stark) struggles with his return to duty and his working relationship with Bobby Nash (Peter Krause), the episode takes viewers to a suburban neighborhood that’s flush with trick-or-treaters. One man passing out candy gets a knock on his door from a bloodied and bruised girl with a pair of handcuffs around her wrist. He initially thinks it’s just the highest-quality costume of the night until she passes out in his arms.
Athena Grant (Angela Bassett) is informed that the young girl is severely malnourished and likely spent a great deal of time shackled before escaping into the streets. Eventually, Athena discovers a house with the girl’s siblings inside in similar condition and a pair of parents who have no real understanding of how abusive they are.
Series creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Tim Minear may have modeled this call on the infamous Turpin family. In January 2018, something similar to the events depicted on “9-1-1” happened when a 17-year-old girl jumped out the window of what was described as a “house of horrors,” which she shared with her 12 siblings and two abusive parents. She managed to call the police and unveiled details of her family’s harrowing existence.
David and Louise Turpin were arrested after police discovered they had been keeping their children locked indoors at their home in Perris, California. They were starved regularly and physically abused for disobedience, The New York Times reported in 2019. The siblings — whose ages ranged from 2 to 29 — were conditioned to accept their circumstances and maintain the family’s abusive secrets, Oxygen.com reported in 2018.
David, 60, and Louise, 53, were sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
The Halloween-themed “9-1-1” episode also included an incident similar to the real-life case of Chante Mallard, whose actions in 2001 resulted in the death of Gregory Glenn Biggs of Fort Worth, Texas, PEOPLE reported in 2018.
In the episode, a woman is distracted while driving and hits a man with her car, sending him hurtling through her windshield. Although he is still alive, the woman suffers a head injury and is too dazed to realize what she’d done. She simply drives home with him hanging out of her car, completely unaware of his presence. The next day, she continues this behavior while driving around town. Onlookers simply think it’s a graphic Halloween decoration. Finally, Buck spots her at a gas station and gets them both the help they need.
Sadly, the real-life incident was much more nefarious. Mallard hit Biggs with her car after driving while drunk and high on marijuana and Ecstasy, PEOPLE reported. Although she was unharmed, rather than seek help for the man, she drove him to her home, pulled into her garage, and closed the door. She apologized as Biggs begged for help, but she didn’t seek it. Instead, she let him die and then called friends over who helped her dump the body in a park, earning everyone involved hefty prison sentences, the outlet reported.
Four episodes of "9-1-1" air on USA Network back-to-back on Thursdays starting at 7/6c.
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