Lizzie Borden Chronicles: Where to Watch & Everything You Need to Know

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Written By Razvan Radu

Adventurer. Storyteller. Paranormal investigator. Cryptozoology enthusiast.

Can’t get enough of the true crime shows? Well, you’re in luck. Here’s another mini-series suggestion you can binge on: The Lizzie Borden Chronicles.

We love it. It’s a captivating 2015 mini-series (8 episodes) that explores the life of Lizzie Borden after her controversial acquittal for the axe murders of her father and stepmother.

The series, starring Christina Ricci, delves into themes of social injustice, newfound notoriety, and the lingering questions surrounding the unsolved case.

Introduction to ‘The Lizzie Borden Chronicles’

Quick Overview

Are you a huge fan of crime shows inspired by true events? Do you want to learn more about one of America’s most controversial murder cases?

Well, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles can be a good place to start. That and the many books about Lizzie Borden (of which we do recommend quite a few)

This compelling limited series aired on Lifetime. It offered viewers a unique blend of historical fiction, murder mystery, and psychological drama.

This period drama unfurled the complex tapestry of Lizzie Borden’s life following her post-acquittal period, weaving a narrative rich in intrigue and dark undertones.

The show premiered on April 5, 2015, and concluded its run on May 25, 2015; the series mainly focused on the aftermath of one of the most enigmatic legal cases of the 19th century.

Casting Spotlight: Christina Ricci and Clea DuVall

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles mini-series cast:

  • Christina Ricci as Lizzie Borden
  • Clea DuVall as Emma Borden
  • Cole Hauser as Detective Charlie Siringo
  • Dylan Taylor as Officer Leslie Trotwood
  • John Ralston as Ezekiel Danforth
  • Bradley Stryker as Skipjack

At the heart of The Lizzie Borden Chronicles are the compelling performances by Christina Ricci and Clea DuVall, who breathe life into the historical figures of Lizzie and Emma Borden, respectively.

The lead actress, Christina Ricci, embodies Lizzie Borden with a captivating blend of mystery and charisma.

In contrast, DuVall, the supporting actress, portrays Emma Borden with a nuanced depth that perfectly complements Ricci’s Lizzie.

Their chemistry is palpable. And I believe it was one of the show’s most powerful aspects. It enriched the series’ narrative and highlighted their significant contributions to its storytelling.

The casting of Ricci and DuVall, both screen veterans with remarkable previous works, was a masterstroke for Lifetime. They just nailed it. It’s what makes The Lizzie Borden Chronicles a must-watch limited series.

Plot and Setting

Post-Trial Life of Lizzie Borden

Following her acquittal, Lizzie Borden’s life in the public eye was fraught with notoriety and embroiled in further scandals, a narrative arc richly explored in The Lizzie Borden Chronicles.

Set against the historical backdrop of Fall River, Massachusetts, the series ventures into the realms of fiction to depict Lizzie’s complex existence in the aftermath of her (in)famous trial.

Residing in the imposing Maplecroft Mansion, her life oscillates between seeking a semblance of normalcy and the shadows of suspicion that never cease to loom.

This portrayal offers viewers a glimpse into the post-trial tribulations and societal challenges she faces, ingeniously blending fact with fiction to craft a compelling narrative.

A grim and foggy Fall River street scene from the 1890s
During the time of the Lizzie Borden murder case in 1892, Fall River, Massachusetts, was a thriving industrial city known for its textile mills.

Fall River, Massachusetts: A Character in Its Own Right

The town of Fall River, Massachusetts, and the infamous Borden House (now a bed & breakfast and a museum) are not just bland settings but characters in their own right.

Now, the mini-series was primarily filmed in Nova Scotia, Canada. However, the production used period buildings and interiors in Halifax and other nearby communities to create the setting for the series.

And they did an outstanding job.

The filmmakers managed to skillfully capture the essence of 1892, a period marked by its historical significance and the social upheavals of the time.

The atmospheric tension is palpable, as the locations enhance the storytelling. Everything embeds the narrative in a specific time and place that is both evocative and haunting.

The ‘inclusion’ of the Maplecroft Mansion (not the actual house) further enriches this backdrop, providing a lens through which the complexities of Lizzie Borden’s post-acquittal life are explored.

Historical Context vs. Fictionalization

The Axe Murders of 1892 and Lizzie’s Acquittal

The foundation of The Lizzie Borden Chronicles is deeply rooted in the chilling events of the axe murders of Andrew and Abby Borden in 1892, a crime that shook the small town of Fall River, Massachusetts, to its core.

The murder was quickly followed by what remained in dark American records as the infamous Lizzie Borden trial—with the victims’ daughter thrust into the spotlight and a grotesque spectacle of national interest.

Despite the damning evidence and intense public scrutiny, Lizzie was acquitted, a verdict that has fueled debate and speculation for over a century.

The series reimagines these historical events, blending fact with fiction to provide a gripping narrative.

Fictional Elements and Creative Liberties

While the series draws upon historical events for its backdrop, it boldly embraces fictional elements and creative liberties, introducing characters such as Detective Charlie Siringo to weave a more complex and engaging narrative.

This blend of historical accuracy and storytelling prowess invites viewers to explore a what-if scenario, enriching the lore surrounding Lizzie Borden.

Through its fictionalized narrative, the series navigates the delicate balance between fact and fiction, influencing viewer perception and sparking new interest in the enduring mystery of Lizzie Borden and her legacy.

Reception and Legacy

Critical Reception and Viewer Response

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles received mixed critical reception and viewer response. However, the series’ performances earned high praise—particularly those of Christina Ricci and Clea DuVall.

What did critics hate? The show was condemned for its historical liberties (with some even arguing that its departures from factual accuracy undermined its credibility).

The mini-series currently has 6.9/10 (out of about 4.400 reviews) on IMDB, a 67% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 52/100 on TV Guide. So, pretty mixed reviews.

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, described as a “what if” follow-up to a previous Lifetime movie about Borden, imagines the aftermath of her acquittal for the murders of her father and stepmother, with a creative narrative that has her continuing to commit murders​​.

The reception highlighted the series’ playful and wicked nature, as noted by Vanity Fair, which called it “brain candy” and praised Christina Ricci’s portrayal of Borden as a perfect fit for the role of a 19th-century ax murderer​​.

However, some reviews pointed out that while the series had fun with its notoriety and dark themes, it struggled with its own self-awareness and failed to fully embrace its schlocky premise. 

Entertainment Weekly criticized the premiere for being “shamelessly vulgar” without fully committing to its schlocky premise. The Hollywood Reporter labeled it as “unexceptional trash,” despite praising the performances of Ricci and DuVall​​.

However, as previously mentioned, this exact departure from historical accuracy was a significant point of contention. But, honestly, the show has never claimed to be a ‘documentary.’

From the very start, the direction was to blend actual historical figures and events with fictionalized elements ( such as introducing new murders and having Lizzie Borden reinvent herself while evading Pinkerton detectives​​).

So, are the critics’ mixed reactions to the show’s blend of biography, crime, drama, history, and horror still valid? In our honest opinion, no.

In fact, the Metacritic score (which was dragged down by the mixed or average critic reviews) also incorporates a generally favorable response from viewers​​. And if there’s anything we’ve learned about movies, it is that the audience is, more often than not, right.

Where to Watch ‘The Lizzie Borden Chronicles’?

If you are interested in the mysterious world of Lizzie Borden, you can easily access the series through different streaming platforms and formats.

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles mini-series is currently available on Lifetime, Google Play, Prime Video, AppleTV, JustWatch, and Plex Live TV.

Additionally, the series is also available on DVD for those who prefer a tangible collection. However, the DVDs are a bit more challenging to find.

Your best bets are eBay, EZYDVD, and Also, remember that the DVD prices can vary and are usually between $6 (used) and $40 (new and sealed).

Unless you want the DVD for your physical collection, I recommend just watching the series on one of the streaming platforms suggested above. It’s a lot cheaper.

Other Depictions of Lizzie Borden in Media

Lizzie (2018 Film)

The 2018 film ‘Lizzie,’ starring Chloë Sevigny as Lizzie Borden, presents a nuanced and intimate portrayal of the infamous figure, markedly divergent from The Lizzie Borden Chronicles.

This cinematic piece delves deep into the psyche of Lizzie, offering insights into her motivations and the oppressive circumstances leading up to the notorious murders.

Unlike the series, which blends historical fiction with elements of murder mystery, ‘Lizzie’ leans more towards a psychological thriller, emphasizing the personal relationships and societal constraints that may have influenced Borden.

Sevigny’s interpretation of Lizzie brings a complex humanity to the character, contrasting with the often sensationalized portrayals in other media and highlighting significant differences in how her story can be told.

Watch it on: Amazon Prime.

The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975 TV Movie)

‘The Legend of Lizzie Borden,’ a 1975 TV movie featuring Elizabeth Montgomery in the titular role, significantly impacted popular culture and the Lizzie Borden mythos.

This earlier adaptation took a dramatic approach, focusing on the events leading up to the murders and the infamous Lizzie Borden trial, thereby cementing her place in American folklore.

Montgomery’s portrayal of Lizzie was pivotal in shaping the public’s perception of the case. She blended innocence with inscrutability in a manner that intrigued and perplexed viewers.

The film’s contribution to the Borden legend has been enduring, highlighting the malleability of this historical narrative in the hands of different creators and the fascination it continues to command.

Watch it on: Amazon Prime.

The Lizzie Borden Took an Ax (2014 TV Movie)

Before The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, the same network aired Lizzie Borden Took an Ax, a 2014 TV movie also starring Christina Ricci as Lizzie.

This film sets a different tone and narrative approach to the Borden story, focusing more acutely on the murders themselves and the ensuing trial.

Unlike the series, which explores Lizzie’s life post-acquittal, the movie provides a condensed and intense exploration of the events leading to and following the infamous axe murders.

The comparison between the two showcases Ricci’s versatility.

It highlights the varying interpretations of Lizzie Borden’s character and the infamous events of 1892, offering audiences diverse perspectives on a well-trodden tale.

Watch it on: Amazon Prime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is The Lizzie Borden Chronicles based on a true story?

The mini-series is a fictionalized account based on actual events surrounding Lizzie Borden’s life after her controversial acquittal for the double murder of her father and stepmother in 1892.

What streaming services have The Lizzie Borden Chronicles?

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles can be streamed on platforms like Lifetime, Google Play, Prime Video, AppleTV, JustWatch, and Plex Live TV.

Where can I watch The Lizzie Borden Chronicles for free?

Unfortunately, at the time of this article, the mini-series is not available for free streaming.

Is The Lizzie Borden Chronicles worth watching?

We highly recommend the series, especially to those who enjoy crime dramas based on true events. It presents a vivid and dramatized portrayal of Lizzie Borden’s life after her acquittal, making it an engaging watch for fans of historical crime dramas.

Who plays Lizzie Borden in the series?

Christina Ricci plays the role of Lizzie Borden in the mini-series.

Is The Lizzie Borden Chronicles historically accurate?

The series draws inspiration from history but takes creative liberties for storytelling purposes.

What is The Lizzie Borden Chronicles about?

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles depicts the life of Lizzie Borden after she was acquitted of the murders of her father and stepmother. The series explores the aftermath of the controversial trial.

When did The Lizzie Borden Chronicles come out?

The series premiered on April 5, 2015, on Lifetime.

Are there any sequels to The Lizzie Borden Chronicles?

Currently, there are no sequels or continuations to the Lifetime series. However, there are several other films and TV series about Lizzie Borden’s life you can watch: Lizzie (2018), Lizzie Borden Took An Ax (2014), The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975), Lizzie Borden Legacy (2013), and The Curse of Lizzie Borden (2022).

Who is Detective Charlie Siringo, and did he exist in real life?

Detective Charlie Siringo, portrayed by Cole Hauser, is a fictional character inspired by real-life historical figures.

Are there any plans for a sequel or continuation of The Lizzie Borden Chronicles?

There are currently no plans or announcements for a sequel or continuation of the mini-series.

Is The Lizzie Borden Chronicles available on Netflix?

The mini-series is not available on Netflix.