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New series “Dahmer” is daunting to viewers


     If there is one thing I know about Netflix, it is that they are never going to miss an opportunity to make a limited series about an infamous criminal, especially a serial killer. Their newest live action docu-series follows Jeffrey Dahmer and gives a more detailed look into his life and crimes. The series is called Dahmer; Monster - The Jeffrey Dahmer Story which started streaming on Netflix on Sept. 21. All social media platforms have blown up about Dahmer, prompting people to look more into what the series got right and wrong about the brutal murderer.     



Photo via Netflix

     The series begins with Dahmer offering money to a man named Tracy Edwards to come to his apartment, which was Dahmer’s usual strategy of luring his victims. Things immediately turn sour when Dahmer triesto handcuff Edwards and threaten him with a knife. Edwards eventually escapes and brings cops to Dahmer’s apartment where they eventually find parts of previously murdered victims’ bodies leading to Dahmer’s arrest and his famous line while he is being cuffed of “for what I did, I should be dead.” The next scene then travels back in time to Dahmer’s childhood where the show then starts a chronological account of Dahmer’s life and how he came to be one of the world’s most infamous serial killers. 

     Evan Peters, starring as Jeffrey Dahmer, is most notably known for his role in the TV show American Horror Story. He is wildly popular with the younger generation which has accounted for a vast number of viewers. The way he spoke a dull monotone throughout every scene and his lack of emotion towards his victims really showed how cold and detached Dahmer truly was. Peters also replicated the child-like way Dahmer mentally toyed with other inmates in prison, like bragging about his crimes. He especially nailed the court scenes where he sat there, unphased, as victims' families and friends gave heartbreaking testimonies, striking a remarkable resemblance to the historical moments in Dahmer’s trial. However, even with this external blandness, viewers could still feel his internal conflict with his sexuality and the gruesome acts he committed on victims. 

     There were some aspects of the series that seemed a little fabricated and were obviously added to create dramatic effect. For instance, one major character in the docu-series was Dahmer’s supposed neighbor, Glenda Cleveland. She is shown as his next door neighbor in the show and is seen constantly calling police and making complaints on Dahmer’s suspicious actions and smells coming from his apartment. In reality, Cleveland didn’t even live in the same building as Dahmer and only had one major encounter with him. This encounter was when a 14-year-old victim of Dahmers escaped, and was later returned to Dahmer by police. This real life event, as well as Dahmer then killing the boy, happened in the show as well. 

     Speaking of the police, in the series, the two officers that I previously mentioned who returned Dahmer’s victim to him after Cleveland interfered were given little to no consequences at all for their actions. This was highly controversial as the victim was a Laotian American which was thought to contribute to the officers careless actions that resulted in the loss of the 14-year-old’s life. In reality, the two officers were fired and their supervisor was put on suspension. I feel like the false representation of the punishment the officers faced was definitely used to stir conflict, but did a good job illustrating the tension held between victims' families. It showed how frustrated they were with how little the police were showing concern for their suspicions of Dahmer for good reason. It also portrayed the largely held belief that a big part of why Dahmer wasn’t caught sooner was because of the victim's race affecting the police’s urgency. 

     Overall, Dahmer did a great job of holding the viewer's attention and dramatizing all of the events in Dahmer’s life. I do believe that, even though this was a good production, there are enough documentaries and TV shows on this subject and people should move on from giving him so much attention and direct more of these series to giving victims more recognition.

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