True Crime lovers, Netflix has just released a contender for your new addiction – The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness.
Director Joshua Zeman tries to understand the story of Maury Terry, a journalist who felt that David Berkowitz was merely a scapegoat for satanic killers. The four-part true-crime docuseries depicts the destruction of Terry’s life as he becomes obsessed with the case. In 2017, Zeman received boxes of materials from the late journalist related to the murders. It is clear that these provided the framework for the new Netflix hit.
David Berkowitz aka The Son of Sam allegedly terrorised New York City during 1976, killing six and wounding seven. Once behind bars, the city let out a sigh of relief. However, inquisitive journalist Terry was convinced that Berkowitz didn’t commit the crime himself; he didn’t even look like the suspect sketches. In 1981, the alleged killer wrote a letter saying, “I am guilty of these crimes. But I didn’t do it all.” Terry’s fixation is central to the series, but Zeman fails to draw light on the journalist’s relationship with Berkowitz.
Although I enjoyed the series, I found the ending disappointing. I won’t spoil anything. I just felt like the ending was immensely anti-climactic. The whole series focuses on Terry falling captive to the “Satanic Panic” of crime journalism. Instead of focusing on the entire case, Zeman takes an interesting choice of excluding investigators from a preponderance of the series. Zeman himself fixates on Terry’s story, saying that the journalist had “the keys to unlocking one of the greatest mysteries of all time.”
I highly recommend watching the series, because honest true crime fans will enjoy picking apart the show. However, if you love investigating, cops, and detectives – this isn’t the show for you. The show focuses mainly on the ‘What If’ factor, which is very annoying for those of us that are inquisitive.