What is it about serial killers that draws our fascination? Perhaps we’re curious to know what makes a killer tick or we’re just hoping to understand what separates murderous monsters from the rest of us.
Either way, serial killers like Ted Bundy and the Zodiac Killer have always garnered the spotlight for their heinous acts. They are often incorporated in film adaptations and documentaries.
True crime junkies might already be familiar with the serial killer known as the Night Stalker. Others might recognize the killer’s mugshot from news stories or the opening credits of the CBS drama “Criminal Minds.”
Now the killer known as the Night Stalker is the focus of Netflix’s documentary series “Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer.”
The limited series focuses on a set of murders and sexual assaults that were committed in 1985 and the investigation that uncovered how the crimes were connected and the criminal behind the horrific acts.
At the time the serial killer terrorized California, people didn’t know what to do. The Night Stalker preyed on folks of various ages, races and income brackets. His victims ranged in age from 6 to 82, which made it more difficult for the police to track him down.
Their one big clue was a distinct footprint.
The series includes interviews with the families of victims, those who survived their encounters with the Night Stalker and footage of the killer’s trial.
Gil Carrillo, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detective, and homicide investigator Frank Salerno share their insights on the case, their experiences tracking down the killer and their encounters with the Night Stalker after he was in custody.
While “Night Stalker” examines the crimes and clues in the case, the docu-series doesn’t aim to sensationalize the crimes or the killer. Instead, the series offers some of the victims and their families a voice, a chance to share how the crimes altered their lives.
The series also provides a commentary about how the Night Stalker, like many other serial killers, had an extensive fan base. Groupies would send him photos and letters pledging their affection, which is its own creepy can of worms.
“Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer” has one season on Netflix. The series is rated TV-MA. Viewers looking for more true crime might also enjoy “The Ripper,” a docu-series about the Yorkshire Ripper, who terrorized England in the late 1970s.