Is Last Stop Larrimah based on a true story?

By Louie Fecou
Published: October 10, 2023
Is Last Stop Larrimah based on a true story?

HBO and Max crime documentary Last Stop Larrimah: Murder Down Under has a deceptively off-kilter premise involving a very, very small shanty town in the middle of Australia, populated with a collection of characters that you might find in a Wes Anderson movie, but it seems that the more you dig into this tale, the darker and more sinister it becomes. But is it based on a true story?

Patrick, or “Paddy”, has disappeared from the town, and nobody knows what has happened to him, but it does appear that he may be gone forever, and there is no shortage of speculation about what might have happened to him.

With one of the bizarre aspects of the town including a huge “pet” crocodile, and another townsfolk specializing in the making of pies, it is easy to see where the show might try and direct you.

With such a quirky storyline, it is easy to understand why the show might be confusing viewers, as the style and tone that has been used seem to be blurring the line between fantasy and reality. So if you enjoy this kind of production, let us get to the real truth of the matter.

What is Last Stop Larrimah: Murder Down Under about?

Larrimah is lost in time.

The town has only eleven people, you can’t get a reception to use a phone, there’s one pub and no police presence, and there’s that darn crocodile.

READ: Once Upon a Small Town Review

The sad thing about the situation is the place was once a busy outpost, but as time and the world move on, it seems the people left in Larrimah haven’t, lost in the turmoil of petty grievances, gossip, and drama that seems to make up the biggest part of their lives.

You could be fooled into thinking this was the pilot of a new dramedy, exploring the eccentric backstories and ongoing narratives that this community has devolved into, but it isn’t. These are people’s real lives.

With one of the “characters” going missing, it is the perfect plot device to dive into this storyline, meet the players, and figure out what is going on. However, the biggest twist of all is just around the corner.

Is Last Stop Larrimah: Murder Down Under based on a true story?

Yes, Last Stop Larrimah is based on a true story. This is not a bizarre game show or pilot for a new drama, this is a real true crime documentary. Larrimah is real. Paddy Moriarty has been missing since 2017 and the characters in this show are real people with real lives and probably real motives.

Behind the camera is Thomas Tancred, who quietly embeds himself in the center of the mystery, revealing the people involved, and trying to explore some of the theories surrounding the disappearance of the cantankerous Paddy.

What happened to Paddy Moriarty?

This is the question that is at the heart of the documentary.

Paddy was of course known to all eleven townsfolk and had his fair share of interactions with them all. Paddy had resided in the town since the mid-sixties, an Irish immigrant who would be as well-liked as he was disliked, and after leaving the pub one night, he was never seen again.

Over the course of the program, we hear from all the remaining residents, all with stories to tell, and ideas of their own.

Ultimately, we still do not know what happened to Paddy, and under the zaniness of the premise, there is the possibility of foul play.

There is always a chance that the facts could be covered by the absurdity, but luckily the showrunner seems to have made the wise decision to constantly remind the viewers that a man has vanished and has possibly been killed, and no matter the quirkiness of the other characters in the show, there is a possibility that someone does know what happened.

As is often the case with true crime stories, there is a lot here for the viewer to unpack, but if you scratch the surface of what might of looked like a light slice of life in an odd out-of-reach town, you might be able to see the darkness underneath.

Additional reading:

Features, HBO, HBO Max, News, Premium Channels, RSC Originals, Streaming Service