Renée Zellweger Makes The Pam Thing Unfathomable

Jay Jangid
2 min readMar 10, 2022


The expression “truth is stranger than fiction” coin for true-crime stories like The Thing About Pam. If a scriptwriter attempts to create this series of horrible atrocities, it reject as too bizarre. Fortunately, the people behind Dateline NBC believed there was much more from this case. The narrative surrounding Betsy Faria’s murder eventually turned into a hugely popular 2019 podcast. The Thing About Pam, billed as Oscar winner Renée Zellweger’s broadcast TV debut, does an excellent job of adapting a fascinating story to the small screen.

Plot Of The Thing About Pam

The crux of The Thing About Pam is about Faria’s killing, for which Hupp was convicted with first-degree homicide in July 2021 — after framing Faria’s husband, Russ. The latter spent a few years in jail owing to Hupp’s intimate contacts. With the investigators and district attorney appointed to the investigation. The real story is crazy, reflecting the inefficiency and corruption that permeate the criminal justice system across the country as well. As to The Thing About Pam’s credit, it refuses to diminish that incompetence.

However, The Thing About Pam isn’t a documentary because NBC has previously taken that technique for this tale in a podcast with the same title and five Dateline segments. Instead, The Thing About Pam is partially a meta-experiment in the weekly magazine format’s reliance on dramatic reconstructions. Partially NBC stroking itself on the back for Dateline’s role in releasing an innocent man, and partly Zellweger doing the most. None of these elements can sustain by The Thing About Pam. Zellweger is the most out of a place of the three in a performance that values caricature. She raises questions about what the show is attempting to achieve with this expansion of its current IP. Amusement? Reportage? Zellweger, whatever it is, is a diversion.

Can It Be Compared To Dateline?

Because The Thing About Pam birth from and praises Dateline, no conscious comparison draws between how the show stages re-creations or integrates jail interviews vs. how Dateline produces them. Rather than being instructive, the hopping back and forth across both and more melodramatic shots of Russ crying during his interrogation by police is incongruous. Morrison notes that Pam wasn’t in charge of her tale for the first time. But it disjoints in its tactics and is so wrong in its focus on Zellweger that it loses its feeling of control.


Honestly, in an age when legal dramas and true-crime documentaries are commonplace. It’s uncommon for a ripped-from-the-headlines series to deliver unexpected twists and turns, tragic flashbacks, and thrilling courtroom showdowns. But, more crucially, it’s The Thing About Pam’s performances from performers who defy expectations that set it apart in an overcrowded genre.

Originally published at on March 10, 2022.



Jay Jangid

Jay Jangid has 2 years of experience in the news media industry with journalistic touch and knowledge of how to create and recreate information into news.