On Sept. 21, 2022, Netflix released a new true crime series on the infamous serial killer Jeffery Dahmer.
This ten-episode series created by Ryan Murphy (creator of other well-known films such as Glee and American Horror Story) starring actor Evan Peters, gives its audience a gut-wrenching insight into the upbringing of Dahmer, as well as the victims stories and the system that had failed them for so long.
I will warn you in advance, this is not an easy watch, and is definitely not for sensitive viewers. The events reenacted within the series are quite gruesome and unnerving.
A perfect example of this would be Dahmer’s upbringing. As a child, his father would bond with him by picking up dead animals off the side of the road and bringing them back home. Dahmer and his father would then dissect and mutilate the dead animal bodies for “science” purposes. This is believed to be the reasoning behind what sparked his interest and fascination with death to begin with. Asides from clips of the mutilated, torn up animal innards, along with the murders themselves, what I believe to be the most disturbing in this series was Dahmer himself. He had no remorse for his crimes and claimed to be completely conscious and aware of what he was doing while he was doing it.
The series started an uprising of anger amongst the families of the victims and the Dahmer family as well, being that they were not informed of the production and release of the series prior to its release to the Netflix platform. Many of the family members claimed to have been retraumatized by the series of what happened to their family members not that long ago.
Personally, I think they chose to cast Evan Peters on purpose. This is because of the strong fan base (primarily female) behind him. They used him and his image not only to “sexualize” Dahmer but also for their own ratings. Murphy cared more about the success of the series than the impact it would have had on those involved.
Often when we discuss true crime, the police are often depicted as the “good guys.” However, that is not always the case. In the series there was a child who managed to almost escape Dahmer before being returned to him by the police. Dahmer had told them that the young man (clearly a child) was his boyfriend who just had too much to drink. The death of that little boy falls directly into their hands. The law had failed not only that little boy, but his family as well.
While true crime stories and documentaries are very informative and important, they can more times than none cause more harm than good. Especially to the families of the victims and their loved ones. Due to the harm this has already caused, and the gruesome content and detailed reenactments of the murders themselves, I do not recommend watching this.
Samantha Jeronis is a second-year English major with a minor in journalism. SJ976620@wcupa.edu