Hilarie Burton Morgan offers an antidote to the often lurid true-crime podcasts and shows captivating the culture. The new series True Crime Story: It Couldn’t Happen Here, she hosts highlights the emotional impact of tragic events on rural areas.
“I’m a huge advocate for small towns,” says the actress, who grew up in Sterling Park, Virginia, before rising to fame in TV’s quaint hamlet of One Tree Hill. “I’m a cheerleader for them because once they’re gone, you can’t get them back.”
Now a farm owner in Upstate New York, she hopes the cases covered — including the murder of a fast-food manager in Adel, Georgia — will shine a light on the “specific issues in the judicial system” plaguing nonmetro locales.
Not to mention the pain suffered by the victims’ loved ones, the police, and, at times, the wrongfully accused.
“I don’t like it when people are eating popcorn and talking about how fun it is to watch these true-crime stories,” she notes. “Because when you interview these people, you’re asking them to relive trauma. These people could be anybody in [your] community, so treating them with empathy and advocacy is super important.”
True Crime Story: It Couldn’t Happen Here, Docuseries, Streaming Now, AMC+