Is Accused based on a true story? The anthology series explained


The highly-anticipated anthology series Accused premiered on Fox on 22nd January 2023. Each episode starts in court and tells the story through the eyes of the defendant. Through a series of flashbacks, the show revisits the events that led up to the trial. 

The cases explored in Accused are complex – it’s up to the viewer to decide whether the defendant is guilty or innocent. For instance, the premise of the first episode is a school shooting that culminates in the assailant shooting himself. 

His father faces trial for providing the shooter with money to buy guns and ammunition. The father, who knew that his son harbored violent thoughts, gave him the money to go on a vacation. Should the father have killed the son before tragedy struck?

Accused is not based on true stories but has links to real life

The stories in Accused are fictional. However, the show explores everyday crimes and conundrums faced by real people. For instance, episode one’s story bears similarities to Hideaki Kumazawa’s case. 

Showrunner Howard Gordon told Deadline: “I came across this story in the newspaper about a Japanese diplomat, and he was in the Parliament, and he had been arrested for killing his adult child who was living at home and who he feared was going to commit a series of knife attacks.”

Kumazawa received a six-year jail sentence, despite potentially preventing the deaths of many others. In Accused episode one, Scott, the father, grappled with the idea of killing his son or reporting the case to authorities. He chose to believe that his son would change, resulting in numerous deaths. 

Future Accused episodes may feature scenarios that some people encounter. However, despite the connections to real life, the stories in Accused are made up.