Is Florida Man on Netflix based on a true story?

Edgar Ramirez in Florida ManNetflix

Netflix’s latest TV offering Florida Man is a crime comedy starring Édgar Ramirez as the lead character Mike – but is it based on a true story?

Hailed from creator and showrunner Donald Todd, the limited series is described as “a wild odyssey into a sunny place for shady people,” with Mike getting caught up in a shady mission, only to get swept up in a treasure hunt.

Although you might have your assumptions from the title, Florida Man is so much more than guns and ‘gators – as promised by the streamer, the show goes “beyond the meme” to deliver a genre-bending crime story.

Article continues after ad

But is Florida Man inspired by real-life events? Read on to find out.

Is Florida Man based on a true story?

Though not technically based on a true story, Florida Man does take inspiration from real-life events – the clue is in the name. 

The Netflix show, produced by Jason Bateman’s Aggregate Films company, gets its namesake from the viral phenomenon that rose to online fame back in 2013 and is still on the go today. 

Unless you’ve been living off grid for the past decade, you will likely have seen the abundance of bonkers headlines circulating on social media, often involving alligators, weapons, drugs, fast food, or all of the above.

Article continues after ad

To refresh your memory, here are a few examples: “Florida man threw live gator in Wendy’s drive-thru window”, “Florida Man facing two weeks in jail for eating evidence in court”, and “Florida Man caught picking hallucinogenic mushrooms with alligator in backpack.”

The question is: why is The Sunshine State such a magnet for absurdity? Back in 2015, The Miami New Times theorised that the freedom of information laws in Florida make it easier for reporters to access information including photos and videos about arrests. As it states in the article, “government business is public business” in that region of the US. 

Article continues after ad

But Donald Todd has other ideas. The showrunner, who is from Florida himself, explained in a press interview with Netflix: “As I grew up, I never stopped thinking about why Florida is Florida.

“Florida is a thin layer of porous crust on top of a hundred feet of water, and it’s maybe a few feet above sea level…. it might all sink. So when you feel that everything is temporary, you take what you can when you can get it. 

Article continues after ad

“A Florida Man is someone who’s proudly independent and doesn’t live by your code, which means he doesn’t live by any code.”

Todd went on to explain that the show is almost an origin story, adding: “[People] laugh at the mug shots and the headlines, but what’s the story behind the meme?” Ultimately, the question Florida Man seeks to answer is: “How did we get here?”

Florida Man is available to stream on Netflix now. You can read more about the series here, the full cast and characters here, and if there’ll be a Season 2 here

Article continues after ad

Related Topics