Say hello to another entry into the true-crime drama TV landscape in Under the Banner of Heaven starring Andrew Garfield. The series, which is based on Jon Krakauer’s New York Times bestselling book of the same name, has Oscar-winning writer Dustin Lance Black shepherding it.
True crime has become a passionate genre across many formats, including TV. In 2022 alone viewers have Inventing Anna, Joe vs Carole, The Tinder Swindler, The Thing About Pam and The Dropout falling into the genre, just to name a few. Under the Banner of Heaven is another.
Here is everything we know about Under the Banner of Heaven.
How to watch Under the Banner of Heaven
Under the Banner of Heaven has released all of its episodes for US audiences. If you want to watch them you need to have access to Hulu where the service is available, with a couple of ways of going about it. The first is to sign up to the Hulu streaming service directly; another option is to subscribe to the Disney Bundle (for US only), which combines Hulu with Disney Plus and ESPN Plus for a single monthly fee; finally, you can combine Hulu and live TV with the Hulu with Live TV service.
In the UK, where Hulu is not available, Under the Banner of Heaven has a UK premiere of July 27 on Disney Plus under the Star banner.
What is the Under the Banner of Heaven plot?
As already mentioned, Under the Banner of Heaven is based on Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction book. Here is the synopsis for Under the Banner of Heaven:
"A devout detective’s faith is tested as he investigates a brutal murder that seems to be connected to an esteemed Utah family’s spiral into LDS (Latter Day Saints) fundamentalism and their distrust in the government."
Here are the episode synopses:
Under the Banner of Heaven episode 1, "When God was Love"
"Detectives Jeb Pyre and Bill Taba investigate the brutal, sinister murders of an LDS woman, Brenda Wright Lafferty and her baby daughter in Utah's typically serene Salt Lake Valley in 1984."
Under the Banner of Heaven episode 2, "Rightful Place"
"With a lead suspect in custody, the investigation uncovers more ominous questions than answers as the hidden history of the once admired Lafferty family is exposed."
Under the Banner of Heaven episode 3, "Surrender"
"The ongoing investigation leads Pyre and Taba into untrod woods where they unearth information that challenges Pyre's own faith, and draw more Laffertys into suspicion and custody."
Under the Banner of Heaven episode 4, "Church and State"
"The investigation intensifies after Pyre uncovers details of the Lafferty family's fundamentalist beliefs, sparking a search for missing Lafferty brothers, Ron and Dan and putting Pyre at odds with his own church leaders."
Under the Banner of Heaven episode 5, "One Mighty and Strong"
"With evidence now pointing squarely toward fundamentalist Mormonism, Pyre turns to LDS Church leaders for guidance but is met with roadblocks. Undeterred, he discovers a list of names Brenda's killers plan to murder next."
Under the Banner of Heaven episode 6, "Revelation"
"New details emerge about Brenda's attempt to reckon with some of the Lafferty family's most extreme members and beliefs, as Pyre and Taba hunt for those who killed Brenda before they can kill again."
Under the Banner of Heaven episode 7, "Blood Atonement"
"As the details of the murders become clear, Pyre and Taba embark on an intense manhunt. hoping to catch the killers before they complete their list or those to be 'blood atoned.'"
Is there an Under the Banner of Heaven trailer?
The official trailer for Under the Banner of Heaven shows Andrew Garfield's detective take on the case, warning their community of a threat that goes beyond what many could conceive. Watch the full trailer right here:
Also check out the teaser trailer for some more footage from Under the Banner of Heaven:
Who is in the Under the Banner of Heaven cast?
Under the Banner of Heaven has an impressive ensemble cast to bring this true-crime story to TV screens, with Andrew Garfield taking on the lead role.
Garfield plays Detective Pyre, an LDS elder who is committed to his Church and family but begins to question some of the Church’s teachings through his contact with a suspected murderer. Andrew Garfield is best known for his time playing Peter Parker/Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel, as well as popping up in Tom Holland’s latest adventure as the web-slinger, Spider-Man: No Way Home. Garfield is also a two-time Oscar-nominated actor, including receiving an Oscar nomination this year for Best Actor for tick, tick … Boom! This is a rare TV appearance for Garfield, though he has previously had roles on Doctor Who and the TV movie trilogy Red Riding.
This may be the last time viewers can to watch a new Andrew Garfield project for a while, as the actor says he is planning on taking a bit of a break from acting.
Daisy Edgar-Jones is also starring in Under the Banner of Heaven as Brenda, a young faithful Mormon who is the victim of a brutal murder. Edgar-Jones broke out in 2020 when she starred in Normal People, an adaptation of another bestselling book. 2022 is set to be a big year for the actress, who in addition to Under the Banner of Heaven will star in the horror comedy movie Fresh, which is now on Hulu in the US, and then in the lead role of the big screen adaptation of Where the Crawdads Sing.
Here is a quick rundown of the main supporting players in Under the Banner of Heaven:
- Avatar star Sam Worthington will play Ron Lafferty
- Wyatt Russell (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier) will play Dan Lafferty
- Denise Gough (The Good Traitor) will play Dianna Lafferty
- Billy Howle (Outlaw King) will play Allen Lafferty
- Yellowstone’s Gil Birmingham will play Bill Taba
- Adelaide Clemens (Rectify) will play Rebecca Pyre
- Rory Culkin (Waco) will play Samuel Lafferty
- Seth Numrich (The Blacklist) will play Robin Lafferty
- Chloe Pirrie (The Queen’s Gambit) will play Matilda Lafferty
- Sandra Seacat (Enlightened) will play Josie Pyre
- Christopher Heyerdahl (Peacemaker) will play Ammon Lafferty
Who is Dustin Lance Black?
The lead creative behind Under the Banner of Heaven is Dustin Lance Black. Black is an Oscar-winning screenwriter for 2008’s Milk. His credits also include Big Love, J. Edgar and When We Rise. In addition to creating the series he is serving as an executive producer with Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Jason Bateman among others.
Though Black does have experience behind the camera, he is not listed among the credited directors for the limited series at this time, as David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water), Isabel Sandoval (Lingua Franca) and Thomas Schlamme (The Americans) are taking those duties, per IMDb.
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Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.