'Atlanta' Season 3 Premiere Was Inspired by Horrifying True Crime

After a multiyear hiatus, FX's Atlanta returned for Season 3. The Donald Glover led series has been praised for weaving in elements of racial and social justice issues into storylines and the season 3 premiere was no different. The episode, titled "Three Slaps" centers on a troubled kid, Loquareeous (Christopher Farrar), waking up from a dream to discover his class is going on a field trip to see Black Panther 2. He starts dancing on top of his desk and gets called to the principal's office, with his mother and grandfather called to the school for a meeting. After a White teacher watches Loquareeous get disciplined with three slaps in the hallway for his behavior, social services are sent to his home. He's placed in the care of two White women, Amber (Laura Dreyfuss) and Gayle (Jamie Neumann), who already are foster mothers to three Black children. As it turns out, the episode was inspired by the tragic real life events of Devonte Hart.

Hart and his siblings were adopted by Jennifer and Sarah Hart in 2009 after his mother was deemed unfit to care for them due to her drug addiction. The Harts however had an extensive history of abuse being reported, though it went overlooked as they were able to explain themselves away. The couple were known to be part of social justice advocacy. Devonte made international news in Nov. 2014 when a photo of him hugging an officer during a protest in Ferguson made headlines. The young boy had tears streaming down his face.

In the episode of Atlanta, the story is drastically different. Loquareeous, tired of Gayle's treatment of him, spots an officer and runs over to hug him while saying, "I learned my lesson, I hate my new parents!" 

On March 26, 2018, Jennider drove the family's SUV off a cliff in Mendocino County, CA, killing them all. "Having six people die like that made it the largest mass murder in our county in modern times," retired Mendocino Sheriff Tom Allman told the New York Post, adding that the adult deaths were classed as suicides. It was also determined that Jennifer and Sarah used their adoptive children, all who were Black, as pawns for photo opps for their alleged love of advocacy. 

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In the Atlanta episode, Devonte doesn't die. Instead, he saves himself and his siblings moments before the women drive to their deaths.