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The True Story of the Stranger: Explore the real events that inspired the Netflix thriller

October 22, 2022

While many crime movies are heart-pounding, one-minute action romp, Netflix’s latest arrival takes things at a much more deliberate pace by weaving layers of characters into its unfolding story.

That film is The Stranger, which details a carefully planned secret police operation that hopes to bring the perpetrator of a heinous crime to justice.

As the film’s opening title card reveals, The Stranger is inspired by real events, but what is the real story the film is based on?


Abroad | Official trailer | netflix

BridTV11435Overseas | Official trailer | Netflix

The Stranger release date and plot preview

After a theatrical release in Australia earlier in the month, The Stranger snuck onto Netflix on Wednesday, October 19, 2022.

Starring Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris, the film follows an intense undercover police operation that hopes to bring the perpetrator of a child’s disappearance and eventual murder to justice.

At the heart of the story is Mark, an undercover policeman tasked with befriending and extracting a confession from Henry Teague, the suspect in James Liston’s disappearance eight years earlier.

Sean Harris as Henry Teague in The StrangerThe Stranger © Netflix

What true story is The Stranger based on?

The Stranger is loosely based on the real-life murder of 13-year-old schoolboy Daniel Morcombe, who was abducted from the Sunshine Coast of Queensland in Australia and killed in December 2003.

After an eight-year investigation and a pioneering sting operation in Canada, police arrested Brett Peter Cowan in August 2011. He was convicted of Daniel’s murder in 2014 and sentenced to life in prison.

The undercover operation in question is known as the Mr Big procedure and sees undercover agents posing as criminals in an attempt to gain a suspect’s trust and extract a confession.

For the film, however, details such as character names as well as the time period of the film were changed as the Morcombe family did not approve of their son’s name being attached to the film adaptation.

Joel Edgerton as Mark in The StrangerThe Stranger © Netflix | Ian Routledge

Daniel Morcombe’s family discuss the film adaptation

Speaking in a statement quoted by, Daniel’s father, Bruce Morcombe, said: “We absolutely said ‘no, we don’t want any part of this’. Daniel’s legacy is to educate children.

In July, Daniel’s mother, Denise Morcombe, posted the following statement on Twitter: “The film The Stranger is not endorsed by the Morcombe family.

“Individuals who make money from a heinous crime are parasites. They are cruelly disrespectful to Daniel, the DMF (Daniel Morcombe Foundation) and the Morcombe family.

In response, Netflix said in a statement, “The Stranger is a fictionalized account of the undercover police operation that culminated in a successful murder prosecution. Out of respect for the family, the victim’s name is never mentioned in the film, and the film does not depict any details of the murder. The family is also not represented in the film.

“Instead, it tells the story of unknown police professionals who dedicated years of their lives and their mental and physical health to solving this case and others like it.

“When the film was in development, the producers approached the family to let them know about the film. They refused to be involved. It is a decision that we continue to respect.

Joel Edgerton as Mark and Sean Harris as Henry Teague in The StrangerThe Stranger © Netflix

The Stranger is available to stream now on Netflix after releasing on Wednesday, October 19, 2022.

The post The Stranger true story: Explore the real events that inspired the Netflix thriller appeared first on Juicee News.

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