'The Thing About Pam's' Glenn Fleshler on Russ Faria's 'Painful' Family Break

Being wrongfully convicted of his wife Betsy's murder ruined Russ Faria's life, isolating him from his community and breaking up his family completely, actor Glenn Fleshler told Newsweek.

Fleshler portrays Faria in NBC's The Thing About Pam, which explores the real life case against Faria after his wife was killed in 2011 and he was made the sole suspect, despite him having an alibi and police finding no blood on him at the time of her death.

Faria was convicted of murder following a trial in 2013 and he was sent to prison until his wrongful conviction was finally overturned in 2015.

Even though his innocence was proven the case had all but destroyed the relationship he had built with Betsy's daughters, Mariah and Leah.

Glenn Fleshler on Russ Faria's "Painful" Family Break

"I'd sort of been clued in to the fact that he was not terribly open to that relationship, those relationships, anymore," Fleshler shared as he discussed the insight his real-life counterpart gave him about how his family was broken by the incident.

"I kept asking in different ways, I kept trying to find different ways to say 'but what about your daughter's at that point? Where do you think about them? and did you reach out?'

"He was never rude about it, or cold about it, but there did seem to be a switch that had been flicked, that's the only way I can describe it when the subject came up. He didn't shut down or anything but he was very clear that there was indeed a break there, which is unfortunate."

Faria also struggled to reintegrate in the community he knew because they were convinced of his guilt, Fleshler added: "Almost an entire town turned on Russ, everybody thought that he did it, he only had a couple of people who stayed by his side.

"You can imagine how isolated you would feel, how alienated, if everyone [did that], his whole [life was ruined], he couldn't go back to his church anymore.

"Many family members, certainly Betsy's family, turned on him and they were convinced of his guilt. It's not like they were doing it maliciously, they had had somebody near and dear ripped away from them. It's very painful in that way."

Fleshler went on to share what Faria told him of his bond with Betsy's youngest daughter: "He did mention that he had a close relationship with Mariah and raised her, and I had asked about what it was like to have a kind of instant family because Betsy had the girls when he and Betsy got together.

"He talked about that being very seamless transition for him to become sort of an instant father, the relationship between him and the girls. So, you know, it must have been very painful to go through all that."

Fleshler added that he was grateful the true crime series ensured this side of Faria was also explored alongside Pam Hupp's (played by Renée Zellweger) involvement in the murder case.

"I was glad that our show, and Jenny Klein our showrunner, decided to go down that track to explore that a little more, both to keep Russ in the story and kind of flesh out the personal story a little more and just to see the kind of further ramifications of something like this," he said.

"The kind of manipulations that went on in the town, in the justice system, with Pam, how that affects a family and beyond, that's one aspect of it and it's obviously a very emotional part of the story."

On Mariah Day's Fears the Show is Making a "Mockery" of her Mother's Death

Betsy's daughter Mariah Day has spoken publicly about the show, sharing that she worried the drama would make a "mockery" of what happened to her family.

In response, Fleshler assured this was not the case: "That's certainly not our intention, to make a mockery. Although the show has humour it is sort of done in a slightly different style of storytelling.

"But, I certainly took it extremely seriously and went through a lot to try to give an honest portrayal, and we'd certainly took the relationship between Russ and Mariah very seriously, both Gideon Adlon [who plays Mariah], and I.

"I don't even know how to say it, but we both sort of went through that tearing apart together and it did feel painful and I'm sure it must be [for her], I can't even imagine what it would be like for someone like her to have to go through this now. But from what I understood, [Mariah] was very cooperative with the show."

Faria, in comparison, has been "very supportive" of Fleshler, and the show itself, the actor explained: "He reached out when he saw the trailers. He got very excited and he was excited to see the show.

"He mentioned that some of his friends thought it was him, I was [him]. So they were confused, they thought I was him. I took that as a great compliment.

"He seemed to think I was doing a good job and I said, 'I hope I make you proud' and he talked about the new book that's out that Joel wrote, and I think they've been travelling around and talking to people about the case. So he's been very supportive."

On How Helpful it was to Speak to the Real Russ Faria

Fleshler added it was "incredibly illuminating" to speak to Faria about his experiences, even if it was an "emotional challenge" to tell the story as truthfully as possible.

"There's nothing like talking to the real person to know what was going on inside their mind as much as he could remember," Fleshler said of speaking to Faria.

"The trick for both of us in trying to share that information is that a lot of what you see in the early episodes was under extreme trauma, and I tried to be respectful of the fact that he probably doesn't really remember a thing going on for a lot of those hours.

"His wife had just been killed and he was whisked away to the police station [to be] interrogated, and all this crazy stuff was going on around [him], tragic things happening in his life.

"So there was a kind of understanding that he's not going to be able to take me moment by moment through all of that, but just to get his general feelings about it.

"He made it very easy for me, because it's this sensitive thing to meet somebody for the first time and say, 'okay, tell me about all of the worst moments of your life, the most personal, horrible things.'

"But he had a great perspective on it, a great attitude about it all, about trying to get the story told and wanting to be as thorough as possible, and letting me into what his life was like then, and how it progressed through the events you see in The Thing About Pam."

The Thing about Pam airs Tuesdays on NBC at 10 p.m. ET.

The Thing About Pam
The Thing About Pam
The Thing About Pam
Glenn Fleshler, Olivia Luccardi, Gideon Adlon, and Renée Zellweger in "The Thing About Pam."