Love & Death review: Elizabeth Olsen shines in a provocative crime drama

Love & Death follows the story of Candy Montgomery, a married woman whose affair with Allan Gore leads to the death of Gore’s wife. The series is now streaming on Max.


Candy Montgomery navigates a perfect life in Wylie, Texas, with her family. Everyone in the town adores Candy and her family. She is like a butterfly who can never harm anyone.

Candy seems happy on the outside, but she is struggling in her personal life, as she doesn’t find herself satisfied with her husband, Pat, who always stays glued to the television and doesn’t appreciate her enough.

Things change for her when she accidentally gets pushed by Allan Gore, a family friend, during the local church’s volleyball game. Candy feels an immense amount of attraction towards him and, overnight, decides to have an affair with him, looking for some thrill.

Though reluctant at first, Allan agrees, as even he is not getting along with his wife, Betty. This affair, away from the town, which they carefully planned, somehow disrupts their lives when Betty is found bludgeoned to death in her own house.


Elizabeth Olsen brings a powerful performance as Candy Montgomery. A viewer will completely forget that it’s Elizabeth Olsen playing Candy, not the real Candy, because they start envisioning her as a regular woman from the 1970s.

Elizabeth Olsen hardly drops her Texan accent. She manages to look like a conservative wife from the ’70s who wants to break free from societal norms in the first three episodes. She then immediately switches gears in the second half of the show, where Olsen carries the guilt and rage of Candy.

Even in the scenes where all Candy has to do is sit and watch, Olsen makes Candy stand out. One can’t take their eyes off her, as Candy looks suspicious all the time, and viewers are made to wonder what exactly is going on in her mind.

Tom Pelphrey takes the lead for some time in the latter half of the show as Don Crowder. Pelphrey carries the energy of a lawyer, and even his character is hard to make out. He responsibly and smoothly transitions from Candy’s friend, who can never see her as a killer, to her lawyer during the show.

While Olsen runs Love & Death, the show does have other strong performers like Krysten Ritter, who plays Sherry Cleckler. Unfortunately, they don’t get enough screen time to showcase their talent.


The first three episodes of Love & Death are completely dedicated to making Candy look humane like everyone else. The affair she has with Allan is explored in depth. It was more or less about having a companion a person can talk to, which every other viewer can relate to.

The show manages to show that Candy is that beautiful best friend you have who will come to your aid when you need her the most. While this thought is established in the first half, it is challenged in the second.

Somewhere, this picture of Candy being just a regular housewife will stay in the viewer’s mind while the case of Betty’s death begins, and questions about Candy being guilty or not start circling in their minds.

One can also feel the atmosphere of the small town portrayed in Love & Death changing over the course of the show’s run. The first three episodes of the show carry the tone of a scandalous drama, and viewers forget that murder is going to be part of it.

When the murder does take place, suddenly one starts feeling that a dark cloud is looming over the show. The events that lead to the discovery of Betty’s body are carried out slowly and with a lot of tension. The house is captured in such a way that the scene feels like something out of a horror movie.


Love & Death spends more time than required trying to establish Candy and Allan’s relationship. Two episodes could have done the job, but the show takes everything slowly.

This leads the viewers to forget about the events of the first three episodes when the real conflict begins. All they remember is who Allan and Candy are. If the first three episodes hadn’t been released at the same time, viewers may have skipped Love & Death after the second episode itself.


Love & Death is an intriguing crime drama, based on true events, that makes a viewer look at someone like Candy and her case from all directions. Right till the end, all the reasons why Candy could be guilty or could not be guilty are laid out with the right tension.

The viewers who know the story will want to watch the show for strong performances, while the viewers who don’t know have an interesting case to study.

Love & Death
Love & Death review: Elizabeth Olsen shines in a provocative crime drama 1

Director: Lesli Linka Glatter, Clark Johnson

Date Created: 2023-04-27 12:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: Love & Death finale recap, review & ending explained

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