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A new docuseries aims to question the narrative around New York's infamous “Son of Sam” murders and whether serial killer David Berkowitz really acted alone.
Netflix dropped a trailer on Wednesday for “The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness,” a four-part docuseries which will premiere May 5. The project’s director, Joshua Zeman, revisits the notorious shooting spree that terrorized New York City while exploring a theory that David Berkowitz wasn’t a lone killer.
Berkowitz was convicted of killing six people between 1976 and 1977 and became known as “Son of Sam” because he initially claimed to have received instructions to kill from his neighbor's dog, who supposedly contained the soul of a 6,000-year-old man named Sam. Later, he admitted to making up the story of the dog, the New York Times reported in 1979. The name has stuck, however, and it indeed fits his image of a singular, deranged gunman.
However, was he really the only killer?
Zeman dives deep into the work of journalist Maury Terry, who was convinced that Berkowitz was part of a larger, Satanic cabal, a theory that Berkowitz himself has stoked in several prison interviews following his conviction. Terry wrote a 1987 book called “The Ultimate Evil: An Investigation of America's Most Dangerous Satanic Cult,” which inspired this new series.
Terry even speculated that the “Son of Sam” murders could be connected to the same cult that Charles Manson’s followers were a part of.
“Examining the case with a more skeptical eye, you can literally see how the police, the press and even the public all had a hand in creating this lone gunman mythology,” Zeman told Rolling Stone. “Of course, you understand why it happened because this was such an incredible time in New York City, but you can also see these holes in the investigation start to appear, where bad decisions are being made and evidence is being missed, to the point that it’s shocking. And that’s what Maury was up against — and why despite all the evidence he had, he couldn’t convince the public of a different narrative. He just couldn’t change history — until now.”
The docuseries incorporates archival news footage, interviews with the people close to the investigation, Terry’s own words and footage of previous Berkowitz interviews as well.
Netflix calls it “a cautionary tale of a man who went down a rabbit hole and never came out. But was Maury Terry just chasing ghosts – or are the true Sons of Sam still out there?”
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