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NBC Insider Based on a True Story

Meet the Cast of Peacock's Comedic Thriller Based on a True Story

Based on a True Story's all-star cast includes Kaley Cuoco, Chris Messina and Tom Bateman as the characters explore America's obsession with true crime and just how far some are willing to go to capitalize on the growing genre.

By Jill Sederstrom

It may be a fictionalized dark comedy, but Based on a True Story plays into America’s all too real obsession with true crime.

The 8-part limited Peacock series follows struggling couple Ava Bartlett, portrayed by Kaley Cuoco, and Nathan Barlett, played by Chris Messina, as they creatively try to solve their financial woes by launching a true crime podcast of their own about The Westside Ripper, a serial killer wreaking havoc throughout Los Angeles. 

RELATED: Is the "Bundy Club" Real? Serial Killer Motivations Discussed in Based on a True Story

Ava and Nathan discover their own eerie connection to the case, which they quickly capitalize on to set their podcast apart — but as they get pulled deeper into the case, their get-rich-quick idea soon spirals out of control.

Get to know the cast who brings the story to life: 

Kaley Cuoco plays Ava Bartlett

"Love You, Buzzfeed" Episode 106 -- Pictured: Kaley Cuoco as Ava

Kaley Cuoco takes on the role of Ava Barlett, a real estate agent relegated to selling much less expensive apartments at her real estate firm. The mom-to-be spends her days dreaming of a better life for her family and isn’t afraid to think outside the box to get what she wants. 

Cuoco — who was pregnant herself during filming — perfectly depicts the determined, yet bumbling, realtor.

This isn’t the first time Cuoco has played an unconventional heroine caught up in a crime. She also played Cassie Bowden in The Flight Attendant, which ran from 2020 to 2022. The series followed an alcoholic flight attendant who woke up in bed next to a dead man. 

Last year, she also starred in Meet Cute with Pete Davidson and The Man From Toronto but she’s perhaps best known for her more than a decade-long role as Penny Hofstadter on the hit comedy The Big Bang Theory.

Chris Messina plays Nathan Bartlett

"The Great American Art Form" Episode 101 -- Pictured: Chris Messina as Nathan

Chris Messina plays former tennis star turned tennis coach Nathan Barlett. When Nathan’s country club suddenly demotes him for a younger version of himself, Nathan is left wondering whether his life is in a downward spiral. 

Messina shares little in common with his character, however. His career has been on an upward trajectory for years with more than 70 acting credits to his name, according to IMDB. Messina starred in the 2012 Academy Award’s Best Picture winner Argo, playing Malinov, and is known for his role as Detective Richard Willis in the 2018 limited series Sharp Objects. He also spent five years playing Danny Castellano on The Mindy Project.

Earlier this year, Messina starred alongside Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in Air, playing David Falk, the brash-talking agent who originally represented a young Michael Jordan.

He also stars in the recently released horror flick, The Boogeyman, which is based off of a Stephen King short story. 

Tom Bateman plays Matt Pierce

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Tom Bateman takes on the role of plumber Matt Pierce, a charming single father who crosses paths with Ava and Nathan Bateman during a plumbing fiasco at the couple’s home and quickly befriends Nathan. 

Bateman’s good looks and strong acting chops aren’t just showcased in Based on a True Story, the U.K. native played Bouc in 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express and reprised the role a few years later in Death on the Nile, according to IMDB. Bateman also starred as James in the 2017 Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn comedy Snatched. Last year, he appeared in the Ron Howard-directed survival film Thirteen Lives, playing Chris Jewell. 

Priscilla Quintana plays Ruby Gale

Priscilla Quintana as Ruby Gale in the Peacock series.

Priscilla Quintana steps into the role of Ruby Gale, Ava’s wealthy and entitled friend who proudly embarks on an affair with her boxing instructor while regularly posting photos of her perfectly toned body on Instagram.

The actress and model has previously starred as Isabella Tavez in the TV series Good Trouble and Jacqueline ‘Jax’ Zhou in the television series Pandora. Other acting credits include Polaroid and Traffik.

Natalia Dyer plays Chloe Lake

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Natalia Dyer plays bartender Chloe Lake, who catches the attention of Matt and Nathan on one of their nights out. 

Dyer herself is no stranger to the horror genre. She’s a regular fixture in horror-drama Stranger Things, where she has played Nancy Wheeler since the series began in 2016, according to IMDB

Dyer — who got her start as a child in 2009’s Hannah Montana: The Movie — has also appeared in Tuscaloosa, Yes, God, Yes, and Things Heard & Seen. 

Based on a True Story is streaming now on Peacock.