The Politician on Netflix is a comedy, but the true story that likely inspired one of the main characters is way darker than the show. Infinity Jackson, a cancer-stricken high schooler, seems to be based on the infamous Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard case from a few years ago, as these Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Infinity of The Politician clues make very clear.
The Politician just debuted on Netflix on September 27. In the show, Infinity Jackson (Zoey Deutch) is a shy young girl with cancer who is being cared for by her grandmother, Grandma Dusty (Jessica Lange). Infinity is a classmate of the show’s main character, Payton Hobart (Ben Platt). Payton soon discovers that Infinity’s supposed illness may actually be a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a condition where a caretaker fakes an illness in the person they’re caring for to gain attention and sympathy.
Infinity’s story is similar to the story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, a real-life victim of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. In 2015, Gypsy Rose’s mother and caretaker, Dee Dee, was found dead by police outside of her home in Missouri, and Gypsy Rose was nowhere to be found. As far as neighbors and friends knew, Gypsy Rose was ill with leukemia, asthma, muscular dystrophy, and brain damage from a premature birth, and she had the mental capacity of a seven-year-old. It turned out that Dee Dee had made all of that up. Gypsy Rose was a fully functioning adult woman who’d been abused by Dee Dee for years. The young girl finally escaped by running away with her online boyfriend, who came to her house to kill her mom for her. She is now serving a 10-year sentence for second-degree murder.
Infinity’s character is only loosely based on Gypsy Rose, and Netflix doesn’t take their version of the story quite that far. In The Politician, Infinity confronts her grandmother after she learns about what’s going on, and then she moves out—no murder involved!
Gypsy Rose Blanchard also inspired Hulu’s The Act, a much more faithful (and dark) re-telling of the story.