We seem to deep into a fraud season on streaming platforms, we’ve had a plethora of shows on Netflix about the Tinder Swindler, a brainwashing conman and a woman who scammed New York’s richest. Now Hulu has decided they want to join the fun with a new series about Elizabeth Holmes, one of the most notorious fraudsters of the 21st century.

How did the world’s youngest female self made billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye? That’s the question new series The Dropout wants to answer when it launches in the UK on Disney+.

The series will star Amanda Seyfreid as Holmes, and it arrives in March after premiering on Hulu. It’s based on the podcast of the same name which charts the rise and fall of the now convicted former CEO and was highly acclaimed, getting an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Feature Story in a Newsmagazine, and was produced by ABC News. The show also stars William H Macy and Stephen Fry in supporting roles.

How did the world's youngest self made billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye?

If you’re unfamiliar with the story and controversy surrounding events that inspired the series, we’ll give you a quick rundown: Elizabeth Holmes was a dropout of Stanford University, and went on to found Theranos, a company dedicated to medical technology. She eventually became the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire. The company announced that they had created technological methods that would change how blood testing works forever, and allow a single fingerprick to be enough of a sample to search for hundreds of different diseases.

Theranos was founded in 2003, and the fortunes of the company continued mostly smoothly until 2015, when various journalistic and regularoty investigations expressed strong doubts about the claims of the revolutionary technology. As the company began to lose credibility, it attempted to gain trust back in a number of desperate attempts, even going as far as creating a fake lab to show then Vice President Joe Biden as part of a tour. As the authorities drew closer, Holmes was eventually charged and convicted with defrauding investors.

The series, like the podcasts shows Holmes’ rise and fall, and explores how Elizabeth Holmes transformed herself into the image of a powerful CEO, and was able to convince people to invest in a product without scientific backup. One of the aspects of her persona which we see Seyfried channelling in the series is the much publicised deepening of her voice to come across as more authoritative. The show also focuses on the relationship between Holmes and her partner Sunny Balwani (Naveen Andrews), and how the scandal impacts their relationship.

The Elizabeth Holmes story is one that’s gripped the public since it was exposed, and public interest only intensified with her trial. It’s certainly ripe for a dramatic adaptation (and in fact, a film version with Jennifer Lawerence as the Theranos CEO is in development, just to make things confusing), and we can’t wait to see the full series when it’s released. The podcast that it’s based on is available now, if you want to have a deeper dive into the full story.


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