You’ve heard about it in the news. Now watch it play out on screen. A Friend Of The Family, the terrifying true story of the Broberg family, streaming October 6 on Peacock.
A Friend of the Family is based on the harrowing true story of the Broberg family, whose daughter Jan was kidnapped multiple times over a period of a few years by a charismatic, obsessed family “friend.” The Brobergs — devoted to their faith, family, and community — were utterly unprepared for the sophisticated tactics their neighbor used to exploit their vulnerabilities, drive them apart, and turn their daughter against them. This is the story of how their lives were permanently altered — and how they survived.
A NOTE FROM NICK ANTOSCA – SHOWRUNNER, EP AND WRITER
It’s easy to judge the Broberg family’s story from the outside. Sometimes when people first hear it, they get defensive: How could these parents have let this happen? I’m not like them.
It is understandable. It’s a surreal story. When I first heard it, I empathized with the family’s vulnerability, and I felt like I understood their story from the outside. But it stayed with me, and I wanted to understand from the inside — to know what their lives felt like, to live in each family member’s experience, to see how they were caught in such a bizarre web, and to help audiences empathize with them too.
I hope people will come away from the series with a deeper understanding of the family and say: In that time, in that place, they were like me. They made terrible mistakes, but they loved their kids. And, a master manipulator took advantage of them.
The series exists outside the typical categories of genre. It’s a thriller built around obsessive relationships, a family drama, and a nightmarish coming-of-age story.
In the course of working on this story and talking with others who have worked on it, one thing has become clear: It’s more relatable than it first seems. The Brobergs’ story is an extreme point on a continuum that more of us are on than we realize.
The other reason I couldn’t stop thinking about this story is, after all of it, the Broberg family grew stronger. They loved and forgave. This is a story about survival, and a larger story about the American psyche and the institutions of family, religion, and community. And part of what makes the story so exceptional isn’t how strange it is, but the fact that the Brobergs told it at all.
It was a wrenching, complicated story to work on. In addition to the thousands of pages of trial transcripts, FBI notes, interviews, and childhood diaries that we were able to use to tell the story, we have had the privilege of working with Jan Broberg herself. We could not and would not tell this story without Jan and her family’s blessing and participation.
Thank you for watching.