Is Black Bird a true story? Real events of Jimmy Keene and Larry Hall behind Apple TV+ series, and UK air date

The crime drama stars two award winning actors, Taron Egerton and the late Ray Liotta

 Taron Egerton as Jimmy Keene in TV show Black Bird. Taron Egerton as Jimmy Keene in TV show Black Bird.
Taron Egerton as Jimmy Keene in TV show Black Bird.

Some crime dramas are so shocking you wouldn’t believe the events could happen in real life, but they did.

One such TV show, which is inspired by true life events, is Black Bird.

The show reveals how, in the United States in the 1990s, former drug dealer Jimmy Keene was able to secure his early release from prison.

He made a deal with the authorities which saw him befriend suspected serial killer Larry Hall and get him to confess to his crimes.

So, what’s the full real story behind Black Bird, how can you watch it, who stars in it and where are Keene and Hall now?

Here’s everything you need to know.

 Taron Egerton as Jimmy Keene in TV show Black Bird. Taron Egerton as Jimmy Keene in TV show Black Bird.
Taron Egerton as Jimmy Keene in TV show Black Bird.

What is Black Bird about?

Black Bird is a crime drama which tells the true story of former American drug dealer Jimmy Keene.

In the 1990s, he was offered his freedom by the FBI - in exchange for coaxing a confession out of suspected serial killer Larry Hall and finding out where his victims were buried.

Keene decides to accept the offer, but some begin to question if the killer is telling the truth or if he’s just making up stories.

This dramatic and captivating story subverts the crime genre by enlisting the help of the very people put behind bars to solve its mysteries.

It is based on the 2010 autobiographical novel In With The Devil: A Fallen Hero, A Serial Killer, and A Dangerous Bargain for Redemption by James Keene

Who stars in Black Bird?

Jimmy Keene is played by Golden Globe Award winner Taron Egerton, who is known for his roles in the British television series The Smoke (2014), the action comedy film Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), and the film Rocketman (2019).

Larry Hall is portrayed by Paul Walter Hauser. He is an actor and producer, known for I, Tonya (2017), BlacKkKlansman (2018) and Richard Jewell (2019).

Keene’s father, Big Jim Keene, is played by the late Ray Liotta who passed away in May 2022. Emmy Award winner Liotta was known for his roles in Goodfellas (1990), Narc (2002) and Revolver (2005).

What is the real life story behind Black Bird?

Jimmy Keene was a high school football hero and decorated policeman’s son when he was sentenced to 10 years in a minimum security prison for drug dealing.

He was given a sensational choice: enter a maximum-security prison for the criminally insane and befriend suspected serial killer Larry Hall in exchange for his freedom, or stay where he was and serve his full sentence with no possibility of parole.

Keene decides that he wants to try to get a confession out of Hall and find out where the bodies of as many as 18 young girls and women are buried before the murderer’s appeal goes through.

After a thorough investigation, the authorities had previously managed to get a confession out of Hall.

He later went back on his confession, however,  and claimed that he was not guilty of any crimes and that his earlier admission of guilt was related to disturbing dreams he had.

Hall was arrested in 1995 for the murder of one young girl as enough evidence was gathered to convict him. He was given a life sentence with no parole.

But investigators still wanted to get a confession out of him for further murders they suspected him of. That’s where Keene came in.

At first, Keene did not want to go undercover, but he changed his mind after his father Big Jim suffered a life-threatening stroke.

After five months, Keene managed to gain Hall’s confidence and started to ask him about his crimes.

He even suggested that he’d remain friends with him regardless of whether he confessed to several alleged killings.

Hall went on to confess to Keene that he had killed another girl, and Keene then came across Hall with a map that showed the supposed location of several of his alleged victims.

Keene left a message for his contact at the FBI and, believing that he would soon be out of prison, he then blew his cover and told Hall exactly what he thought of him.

The FBI did not get Keene’s message, however, and he was taken to solitary confinement.

By the time he was released from confinement, Hall’s map with the locations of his alleged victims was gone.

Despite this fact, Keene was released from prison early in 1999 and his criminal record was wiped clean.

Where is Jimmy Keene now?

Keene published his memoir, In With The Devil: A Fallen Hero, A Serial Killer, and A Dangerous Bargain for Redemption, about his experience back in 2010.

He continues to do his best to be an active part of any book, movie, or series exploring what happened to ensure factuality, and he is in fact an executive producer on Black Bird.

Where is Larry Hall now?

Hall remains in a maximum security prison, where he’s expected to remain for the rest of his life.

He has since confessed to several more killings, only to retract his confessions again.

When is Black Bird released?

Black Bird is released on Friday 8 July 2022.

There are six episodes. The first two episodes are released on 8 July and the further four episodes will be released weekly thereafter.

How can you watch Black Bird in the UK?

You can watch the show on Apple TV+.

You need to sign up for a subscription for Apple TV+ to be able to watch the show.

Is there a trailer for Black Bird?

Yes, there is a trailer. You can watch it below.