MGM+, a premium linear channel and streaming service, today announced it has greenlit the true-crime docuseries The Wonderland Murders & The Secret History of Hollywood (working title), based on Michael Connelly's (Bosch; The Lincoln Lawyer) hit Audible podcast of the same name. Directed by Alison Ellwood (San Francisco Sounds, Laurel Canyon), the four-episode docuseries will be the definitive examination of the infamous Wonderland murder case in 1980s Los Angeles. The Wonderland Murders & the Secret History of Hollywood was released exclusively on Audible as a limited documentary podcast series and audiences have spent 150,000 hours listening to Connelly's riveting investigation.
On July 1, 1981, four people were discovered severely beaten to death in a suburban home in Laurel Canyon on Wonderland Avenue. The murders' aftermath spans two decades and reaches into present day with details, subplots, and investigative twists that prove the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction. From a bought-off juror to the biggest porn actor of his generation, an alleged corrupt federal agent and a kind of Zelig of Hollywood's dark underbelly, much about the case remains unresolved, and there are people who got away with murder.
Through explosive in-depth reporting, new developments, rare archival footage, and pivotal testimony from "missing witness" Scott Thorson (best known as Liberace's boyfriend and the writer of the tell-all Behind the Candelabra), Wonderland Murders will delve into the gruesome crime that has captured the public's imagination for nearly half a century, and tell a broader story about Los Angeles, the American dream, and when justice does—and doesn't—work.
"Wonderland Murders joins MGM+'s growing stable of smart, insightful, and thought-provoking true-crime docuseries," said Michael Wright, head of MGM+. "Michael Connelly is a renowned and tenacious crime writer, and Alison Ellwood is a visionary director, so there is no better team to explore one of Hollywood's most notorious crimes."
"I love Alison's work and look forward to working with her and MGM+," said Michael Connelly (below). "The Wonderland murders left an indelible impact on Hollywood, and exploring it with the original detectives and witnesses is exciting, and is going to help us answer many of the questions that are still out there."
"Michael has curated an exceptional slate at MGM+, and we are thrilled Wonderland Murders will be in such illustrious company," said Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman, heads of Sony Pictures Television's The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC). "Alison is a filmmaker IPC has been chasing for years, and we feel incredibly fortunate we finally get to collaborate. Her take on Michael Connelly's groundbreaking reporting will undoubtedly yield one the best true crime documentaries of the year."
"It's been one of the thrills of our professional lives to have worked with Michael Connelly over these past few years on the Wonderland podcast and now on the doc series," said Jen Casey and Nick Gilhool. "And for the documentary adaptation to be led by Alison Ellwood, the consummate filmmaker, at a home like MGM+, with Michael Wright and Jill Burkhart, two of the best execs in the business, along with veteran storytellers Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman, and not to mention Rick Jackson with his inimitable expertise and access. We couldn't imagine a greater team to usher this bigger-than-life story to the screen."
"The Wonderland Murders has all the qualities of a page-turning thriller that fans expect from Michael Connelly's novels, except that it's also a true story," said Rachel Ghiazza, Chief Content Officer at Audible. "We could not be more excited to see this unforgettable and incredibly well-told story come to life in a new format with the support of our Amazon colleagues at MGM+."
The series is produced by Sony Pictures Television's The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC) and Miziker Content, and executive produced by Michael Connelly, Alison Ellwood, Jen Casey and Nick Gilhool, Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman for IPC, and Rick Jackson.