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Within the past year, Netflix has continuously put out new television series for viewers to binge-watch. A common thread about these series have been based on true stories of serial killers within America and “The Sons of Sam” is no different, for it is based on the well known New York serial killer, or killers. Released on May 5, the new series immediately became ranked number three on Netflix’s Top 10. Consisting of four episodes, the series dives into the six murders and 13 attacks within the New York community that the police blamed on one man, despite a journalist having his own theory that the murders were all an act by a satanist cult instead.
Netflix did a great job keeping viewers engaged and informed through their editing style within the “Sons of Sam” series. To set the time frame of everything, occasionally, there would be a graphic of an old typewriter with the exact dates of specific murders that were analyzed. This was a great addition to the series to keep the viewers caught up with the events that took place, primarily when they occurred, to better understand the chaotic killing spree. Specifically, the typewriter represents the time in which the series is based on, the 1970s when typewriters were often used in everyday life. Not only were the graphics helpful for the audience, but the insertion of a deep voiceover also helped set the mood of the murder mystery, making the series more suspenseful and keeping viewers informed. The voiceover was made out to be the voice of the journalist, Maury Terry, who became obsessed with the unknown serial killer, known as the Son of Sam or the .44 Caliber Killer.
All four episodes of the series had an average timespan of an hour long. Despite the intensity and chaotic content, the episodes were rather lengthy; they could have been more efficient and engaging if shortened to around 30 minutes. The change in time would have allowed viewers to quickly watch an episode, without committing a full hour out of someone’s hectic day. Since Netflix series are typically meant to be binge-watched, the episodes have to be broken down into sections for one person to watch throughout a week rather than just one full day.
The actual content of the series was jam-packed within the episodes, for there was a lot to uncover. One of the main focuses was the police sketches of the suspected serial killer. Netflix did a great job of including images of each sketch that portrayed the variation and contrasts among them. The sketches were a vital part of the series that led to the journalist’s suspicion that there was not only one suspect but there was a cult of three perpetrators. Another additional piece to the puzzle was the location of the crime scenes. The series started in New York, portraying the terrible shape the city was in including flashback videos and images of the streets that helped the viewers better understand the setting of this time period that allowed these horrific events to occur. The reactions to the murders were shown through old news clips as people were interviewed on their thoughts and feelings on a suspected serial killer being on the loose. By showcasing the people’s reactions to the murders, this not only helped the viewers comprehend the fear that was spread throughout the city but also put the viewers into the shoes of those within the community.
Overall, the series was well edited, which helped grab the attention of the audience in order to counterbalance the lengthy, hour-long episodes. The content within each episode was engaging, suspenseful and informative. Including the police sketches, real news clips and images from New York as the murders helped set the scene of crimes and frightful emotions amongst the community. Altogether, “The Sons of Sam” proved to be yet another successful crime series created by Netflix.