|Truth Be Told|
|Created by||Nichelle Tramble Spellman|
|Based on||Are You Sleeping|
by Kathleen Barber
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||28|
|Running time||39-50 minutes|
|Original network||Apple TV+|
|Original release||December 6, 2019 –|
March 24, 2023
Truth Be Told is an American legal/crime drama streaming television series on Apple TV+. The series was created by Nichelle Tramble Spellman, based on Kathleen Barber's 2017 debut novel Are You Sleeping. Spellman also acts as executive producer and writes for the show. Unlike the book, Poppy Parnell (Octavia Spencer) plays the main role, as a podcaster who revisits the case that made her famous with the hope of finally getting to the truth.
The series premiered on December 6, 2019. The soundtrack, composed by John Paesano, was released by Lakeshore Records on the same day. New York's Paley Center also aired episodes of the show.
The second season began in August 2021. In December 2021, the series was renewed for a third season, which premiered on January 20, 2023 and concluded on March 24, 2023. In April 2023, the series was canceled after three seasons.
In the first season, Oakland journalist Poppy Parnell restarts the true crime podcast that made her famous and reopens the 1999 murder case of Stanford professor Chuck Buhrman after new evidence suggests Warren Cave, the man she helped put behind bars, was wrongly convicted.
In the second season, Poppy investigates the murder of a photographer/filmmaker at the request of his wife Micah, an equally controversial wellness guru whose friendship with Poppy compromises her judgment.
In the third season, Poppy works with a high school principal to investigate the disappearances of several young black girls in Oakland whose cases lack mainstream media attention. Meanwhile, a mayoral candidate uses a white girl's disappearance for his campaign.
|First released||Last released|
|1||8||December 6, 2019||January 10, 2020|
|2||10||August 20, 2021||October 22, 2021|
|3||10||January 20, 2023||March 24, 2023|
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||1||"Monster"||Mikkel Nørgaard||Teleplay by : Nichelle Tramble Spellman||December 6, 2019|
|Two decades after sixteen-year-old Warren Cave is incarcerated for the murder of Chuck Burnham, a retrial for Cave brings about new evidence involving the inconsistent testimony of Chuck's daughter Lanie. Poppy Parnell, a podcaster who rose to fame for her coverage on the trial, is a witness and the judge files against the appeal because of Lanie's fragile state following her father's murder. This however brings about a sense of worry and guilt for Poppy and prompts her to retell the events through her podcasts. Poppy soon decides on visiting Warren through his cancer-ridden mother and Lanie who refuses to participate. However, Warren's mother Melanie agrees on letting Poppy visit her son, but the meeting ends with Poppy leaving after Warren reveals numerous Nazi tattoos. Later, Poppy revisits Warren and believes he was changed by the system before revealing about his mother's cancer diagnosis and Cave reveals he used to infiltrate the Burnham's household for pills. A flashback shows Warren sneaking in for pills but after hearing a noise, left the house which could be what Lanie saw that night.|
|2||2||"Black People in the Neighborhood"||Rosemary Rodriguez||Nichelle Tramble Spellman||December 6, 2019|
|Warren calls Melanie and berates her for not telling him about her diagnosis before beating up a inmate who insults his mother. Poppy is confronted by Owen Cave, the chief of police and Warren's father who says his son deserves prison. She calls her ex, Markus to seek out Josie, the identical twin sister of Lanie who never appeared at the trials or testified. Markus soon follows Lanie and her aunt Susan, in the car, Lanie tries asking Susan where Josie is and when the phone rings revealing Josie as the caller, Susan tries to stop her niece, causing the car to crash and Susan to die of her injuries. Poppy hears of the accident and Susan's death from Markus who gives her Susan's phone he found. Josie Burnham is revealed to have adopted a new persona and engaged but listens to Poppy's voicemail through Susan's phone about her help in the case while Lanie searches through her aunt's belongings for clues on her twin sister's whereabouts. Owen meets with Warren and tells him to stop seeing Poppy. In New York, Poppy successfully finds Josie and talks with her about Warren's innocence and asks for her help. Markus discovers Melanie Cave had an affair with Chuck Burnham, thus opening a motive for Owen. Josie calls Lanie who asks for her sister to come home but she refuses while a fight in prison turns out to be a diversion and Warren is stabbed.|
|3||3||"Even Salt Looks like Sugar"||Sarah Pia Anderson||Chitra Elizabeth Sampath||December 6, 2019|
|Poppy hears of Warren's stabbing and is denied any access to see Warren anymore while Warren requests to be put back into the general population when he is released. Poppy asks her old biker friend, Jerbic, to send a message to Warren in prison. However, Wever receives a call from Warren who reveals that he knew about his mother's affair with Chuck and even told Owen months before the murder.|
|4||4||"No Cross, No Crown"||Mikkel Nørgaard||Davita Scarlett||December 13, 2019|
|Poppy and Markus trace their prime suspect's (Owen's) movements on the night of the murder, revealing a startling gap in events.|
|5||5||"Graveyard Love"||Tucker Gates||Matt Johnson||December 20, 2019|
|Poppy continues building her new case, while Warren faces repercussions for his actions.|
|6||6||"Not Buried, Planted"||Sarah Pia Anderson||Michael Kastelein||December 27, 2019|
|A devastated Poppy tries to walk away from the case, but it won't let her go.|
|7||7||"Live Thru This"||Loni Peristere||Darla Lansu & Alexandra Salerno||January 3, 2020|
|Poppy zeroes in on her new suspect, and Warren makes a fateful decision.|
|8||8||"All That Was Lost"||Mikkel Nørgaard||Leonard Dick||January 10, 2020|
|Poppy enlists an unlikely ally (Josie) in her hunt. Finally, the events of Halloween 1999 are revealed.|
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|9||1||"Other People’s Tears Are Only Water"||Mikkel Nørgaard||Nichelle Tramble Spellman||August 20, 2021|
|Poppy's old friend (Micah) from the streets invites her to a party celebrating her new book Discard, which Micah credits Poppy's initial editing of as a contribution to its publication, as well as the corresponding art exhibition. Something seems off about Micah's relationship with her husband (Josh) and Poppy is the one who later finds him dead in the arms of a younger man. During later questioning, Micah's assistant (Ramón), who claims that he didn't like Josh, states Micah has had issues with fans stalking her. Poppy stops by to ask Markus about being private security for Micah and he gets an office at Shelter, the women's lifestyle company that Micah founded, and learns that Micah gets a lot of hate mail. Micah asks Poppy for help and to use her podcast to get to the bottom of the murder. Poppy learns from Ingram that the police will classify the death as a murder-suicide, and she confronts detective Aames to threaten that he find the truth or that she will.|
|10||2||"Ghosts at the Feast"||Rosemary Rodriguez||Jamie Rosengard||August 27, 2021|
|Detective Aames questions an informant of the Son's of Ivar, the subject of Josh's recent documentary, but they are quickly eliminated as the suspect of Josh's murder. Shreve (Poppy's father) reveals a medical diagnosis to his family that will affect his memory, which proves difficult for his family to cope with. Noa uncovers that Josh had been in contact with the other murdered boy (Drew) for the past 6 months. As Poppy looks into Josh's death, she uncovers that Josh had multiple previous affairs and that he felt eclipsed by Micah's fame. At Drew's shiva, Poppy learns that Drew's parents were under the impression that he was Josh's intern. Ramón was also at the shiva and Poppy tracks him back the murder scene where he appeared to be trying to eliminate evidence of Josh's relationship with Drew, which turns out to actually be paternal. Micah becomes angry upon Poppy sharing this information with her, resulting in an outburst during her livestream Shelter event. An unknown character makes several suspicious appearances, including scaring Cydie (Poppy's sister) while she is at work. Poppy gets served with a wrongful death suit of Owen Cave (season 1 character).|
|11||3||"If Wishes Were Horses"||Dawn Wilkinson||Milla Bell-Hart||September 3, 2021|
|Ingram & Poppy continue to discuss their marital issues while he prepares her for her deposition. Poppy finds out that Shreves was having Josh record his thoughts and history before his memory gets too bad. Markus runs into an old friend whose daughter (Drea) is missing and he offers to look into it, beginning with asking his daughter (Trini) who says most students think she ran away. Poppy and Micah learns there's more than meets the eye with Ramón since he seems to have cared deeply for Josh, despite his earlier remarks to Poppy, including a connection to Drew. Micah grows distrustful of those closest to her resulting in her leaking information about Ramón to detective Aames that subsequently results in Ramón exposing secrets about Micah to social media.|
|12||4||"In Another Life"||Jet Wilkinson||J.L. Tiggett||September 10, 2021|
|The case takes a turn when another person close to Micah is found dead, Poppy and Ingram's marriage reaches a crossroads.|
|13||5||"If I Didn’t Laugh, You’d Cry"||Nelson Cragg||Amanda Segel||September 17, 2021|
|Coping with personal struggles, Poppy begins to question herself, Holt's old friend finds him, and Poppy and Aames identify a new murder suspect.|
|14||6||"All These Women"||Ariel Kleiman||Jeanine Daniels||September 24, 2021|
|Poppy and Markus search for a mysterious associate of Holt's; memories of Poppy's childhood with Miss Shirley invade her thoughts.|
|15||7||"Lanterman-Petris-Short"||Alexis Ostrander & Frederick E.O. Toye||Darla Lansu Campbell||October 1, 2021|
|Rose tells Poppy about Micah's past. Also, a protective Holt goes to extreme measures with violent consequences.|
|16||8||"The Untold Story"||Nelson Cragg||Hilly Hicks Jr.||October 8, 2021|
|Micah threatens to expose Poppy's dark secret. Also, Markus makes a major decision.|
|17||9||"Brick by Brick It Also Falls"||Kat Candler||Michael Kastelein||October 15, 2021|
|Poppy's pursuit of a suspect leads to a horrific confrontation. The truth about Poppy's childhood with Miss Shirley is revealed.|
|18||10||"Last Exit...Oakland"||Mikkel Nørgaard||Michael Kastelein & Matthew Montoya||October 22, 2021|
|Grappling with the aftermath of the attack, Poppy interviews Micah on her podcast and gets to the bottom of the case.|
|Title||Directed by||Written by ||Original release date |
|19||1||"Unto the Sweet Bird's Throat"||Mikkel Nørgaard||Maisha Closson||January 20, 2023|
|Poppy focuses her next podcast on the neglected issue of missing black girls in Oakland as she tries once again to locate the runaway teen daughter of Markus' old friend. There is a series of black girls missing.|
|20||2||"Her, Armed with Sorrow Sore"||Mikkel Nørgaard||Jamie Rosengard & Henry "Hank" Jones||January 27, 2023|
|Poppy takes the investigation into her own hands and grapples with whether she can trust Eva, a Black female principal of the local high school. The show makes a startling turn when the vice principal, Eva, starts to use the dating app Questeur as "BOTTOM2TOPENERGY" to try to find out what is happening to these black girls. It turns out that Eva was "trafficked" by a Stanford Law student who promised to get her mother a green card.|
|21||3||"Here She Shall See No Enemy"||Bille Woodruff||Rebecca Dameron & Darla Lansu Campbell||February 3, 2023|
|Markus tries getting to the bottom of a shocking discovery. Eva makes a startling confession to Poppy. It is revealed from the raid of a pimp house, that Trini's boyfriend, is videotaping himself and Trini having sex. Trini is wearing a bra with the colors of the Jamaican flag.|
|22||4||"Never Take Your Eyes Off Her"||Bille Woodruff||Michael Kastelein & Lisa Michelle Payton||February 10, 2023|
|Trini ends up at a music recording studio with her boyfriend Aubrey. He threatens her for the first time after Trey attacks him. Trey is shot and killed in a back alley when Poppy shows up with the cops. Aubrey, boyfriend dating Trini, manipulates his girlfriend into wearing a satin lingerie, and having sex and taking drugs with him again.|
|23||5||"Freedom Is Never Given; It Is Won"||Alrick Riley||Henry "Hank" Jones & Darla Lansu Campbell||February 17, 2023|
|24||6||"From My Hand the Poisoned Apple"||Alrick Riley||Lisa Michelle Payton||February 24, 2023|
|25||7||"The Luxury in Self-Reproach"||Frederick E.O. Toye||Jamie Rosengard & Madeleine Pron||March 3, 2023|
|26||8||"Darkness Steals the Glory of Light"||Frederick E.O. Toye||Rebecca Dameron & Janelle Malak||March 10, 2023|
|Poppy finds her relationship with Eva hanging in the balance as Markus and Poppy make a discovery that challenges their theory.|
|27||9||"Only Little Secrets"||Millicent Shelton||Michael Kastelein||March 17, 2023|
|28||10||"A Kiss Not Mine Alone"||Millicent Shelton||Maisha Closson & Matthew Montoya||March 24, 2023|
|Reeling in the aftermath of the attack, Poppy sets her sights on locating a suspect on the run. Meanwhile, Markus seeks help from Shreve.|
On January 3, 2018, Apple announced that it was developing a television series based on the novel Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber. The show was created by Nichelle Tramble Spellman who also wrote and executive produced the series as well. Other executive producers include Octavia Spencer via her Orit Entertainment, Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter for their company Hello Sunshine, and Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Kristen Campo for Chernin Entertainment. On May 2, 2018, Apple announced that they had given the production a series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes. On June 13, 2018, it was reported that Anna Foerster would direct the series' first episode. A featurette from the series was released on November 26, 2019. On March 5, 2020, Apple renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on August 20, 2021. On December 7, 2021, Apple renewed the series for a third season which premiered on January 20, 2023. On April 24, 2023, Apple canceled the series after three seasons.
Simultaneously with reports of the series' development, it was confirmed that Octavia Spencer has been cast in the series' lead role. In June 2018, it was announced that Lizzy Caplan, Aaron Paul, Elizabeth Perkins, Mekhi Phifer, Michael Beach, Tracie Thoms, Haneefah Wood, and Ron Cephas Jones had joined the main cast. Caplan, Paul, and Perkins all reportedly signed one-year deals for the series. In July 2018, it was reported that Tami Roman and Moon Bloodgood had joined the main cast and that Nic Bishop, Annabella Sciorra, Molly Hagan, Billy Miller, Brett Cullen, and Hunter Doohan would appear in recurring roles. In August 2018, it was announced that Lyndon Smith had joined the cast in a recurring capacity. Additionally, it was reported that Bloodgood had dropped out of the role of Cath Min after filming of the first four episodes had been completed. The role was expected to be recast and her already-filmed scenes to be reshot. On October 8, 2018, it was announced that Katherine LaNasa had been cast to replace Bloodgood, and her character Cath Min, in the newly devised recurring role of Noa Havilland.
In October 2020, it was announced that Kate Hudson would be starring in the second season of Truth Be Told. The next month, it was reported that Merle Dandridge, Jason O’Mara, Alona Tal, David Lyons, Christopher Backus, Cranston Johnson, Hale Appleman, Anthony Lee Medina and Mychala Lee has been cast for the second season of the series. On March 23, 2022, Gabrielle Union was reportedly cast as a lead role in the third season. On April 5, 2022, it was announced that Ana Ayora had joined the cast in the third season.
Principal photography for the series commenced on June 25, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Filming reportedly concluded on December 12, 2018. Production for the second season began in Los Angeles on October 26, 2020, after being briefly delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In February 2021, Leimert Park was planned to be a filming location for the second season but was delayed due to protesting against the filming. Filming moved to the Arts District in Los Angeles for the duration of April 2021 and wrapped by the end of the month. It was announced by Apple that third season has begun filming on April 15, 2022.
On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the series has a score of 31%, based on 29 reviews, with an average rating of 5.72/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A twisty thriller that never quite comes together, Truth Be Told's commitment to the true crime at its center is less interesting or engaging than the family drama orbiting in the periphery." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 46 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
|2020||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special||Octavia Spencer||Nominated|||
|NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series||Nichelle Tramble Spellman||Won|||
Are You Sleeping, created and written by Nichelle Tramble Spellman based on the true-crime novel by Kathleen Barber, provides a unique glimpse into America's obsession with true-crime podcasts and challenges its viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is placed on a public stage.