Chernobyl: Breaking down fact vs. fiction in the HBO series

1 of 4

Photo Credit: HBO

HBO’s Chernobyl may have ended but our curiosity lives on as we mull over what the series got right and where it veered away from the truth.

HBO’s Chernobyl has taken the world by storm by revisiting the devastating 1986 incident that changed the course of history forever. Before the HBO series, accounts of what happened before, during, and after the Chernobyl incident were conveyed through books, interviews, and journal entries. And while there have been movies and documentaries that have covered this event, showrunner and creator Craig Mazin has probably done it the most justice.

Not only did he go visit the actual site, but he fully immersed himself in this tragic story and made it his mission to learn all the history behind it. And given all the research he put into it, we can’t help but wonder what parts of the series were truthful to the history, and what parts were dramatized and/or fictional.

To better understand the true history of this disastrous incident, we’re diving into the HBO series and breaking down what actually happened versus what didn’t. And trust me when I say, you’ll be just as surprised as I was!

Photo Credit: HBO

Valery Legasov, Ulana Khomyuk, and Boris Shcherbina

These three individuals are an integral part of HBO’s Chernobyl. But were they real people during the actual crisis? Legasov, a nuclear scientist that was brought in to assess the situation and Shcherbina, the Soviet Deputy Prime Minister, were both indeed real people. Their involvement in the Chernobyl situation was depicted fairly accurately and both Jared Harris (Legasov) and Stellan Skarsgård (Shcherbina) did a stellar job with their portrayals.

And while these two men were part of the actual history, the character of Ulana Khomyuk was not, according to Newsweek. In fact, it was reported that this character represented”the dozens of scientists who helped investigate the crisis as it unfolded.” Can I just say Emily Watson did a fine job of representing the culmination of all those who came forward to give their help during the Chernobyl incident? Bravo, Watson!