Is Rob Mahoney Based On Conrad’s Real-Life Friend?

Is Rob Mahoney Based On Conrad’s Real-Life Friend?

The Girl From Plainville largely uses the identities of many of those involved in the real-life case – but Rob Mahoney is a different story.

Warning: This article contains discussion of suicide. 

Most of the characters in Hulu’s mini-series The Girl From Plainville are based on real-life people – but is Conrad’s best friend Rob Mahoney one of the characters based on a real-life counterpart? Whereas most of the characters in the mini-series kept the actual names of the real-life people involved, Conrad’s best friend has a different name for the show. The reasoning for this could be something as simple as wanting to keep their life private; either way, Conrad’s real best friend was just as significant to Conrad’s life as he is in the series.


The Girl From Plainville is a dramatized show based on the real-life suicide of eighteen-year-old Conrad Roy (Colton Ryan). His girlfriend, Michelle Carter (played by Elle Fanning), was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, having convinced Conrad Roy to take his own life. The series explores everything from the two’s relationship to both Carter and Roy’s family and friends. One particular person, Rob Mahoney (Jeff Wahlberg), is a unique character that the show examines, delving into his and Conrad’s close friendship.

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Rob Mahoney is based on Conrad’s real-life best friend, Tom Gammell. As the series examines through a series of flashbacks, Conrad and Mahoney had something of an “older brother, younger brother” relationship. Mahoney is a year older, and he takes Conrad, who is more quiet and reserved, under his wing. The age difference in the true crime show is true, as Conrad’s real-life best friend, Gammell, was a freshman at Fitchburg State when he found out about Conrad’s passing, who was a senior in high school at the time.

The Girl From Plainville stays pretty close to reality. Just as Mahoney thought it was strange that Michelle was making Conrad’s fundraiser “Homer’s for Conrad” in her hometown as opposed to Conrad’s, so did Gammell. When interviewed by police, Gammell actually claimed that Carter seemed to care more about getting credit for the fundraiser than doing it in honor of Conrad. Gammell stated that Carter “…was kind of looking for attention,” and Michelle even accused Gammell of taking credit for her idea (via Gammell also told police that he had no idea who Michelle Carter was until Conrad’s passing, although she claimed they had been dating on and off for almost two years. He was one of the first in Conrad’s close circle to think Michelle was hiding something and found her behavior extremely odd.

The Girl From Plainville is of course dramatized for viewers, but much of it is relatively realistic. The way that Conrad’s family and friends are portrayed is sensitive to Conrad’s memory. Although the mini-series is a show created for entertainment, real people were affected and traumatized. By the way the series tackles Conrad’s passing, his memory must’ve stayed at the forefront of the creators of the show’s minds.

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The Girl From Plainville releases new episodes Tuesdays on Hulu.

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About The Author

Melissa Cusano
(36 Articles Published)

Melissa Cusano is a writer for Screen Rant. Recently graduated from Chapman University with a BA in Film Studies, Melissa loves writing about film and tv, specifically horror movies.

If not working, Melissa loves going to concerts, playing video games, and hanging out with her dog Ozzi.

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