Sons of Sam
Updated: Nov 23, 2022
(available on Netflix) FTC Rating: 3.5 out of 5 I'm going off format for this post as I want to discuss how it relates to the "Satanic Panic" review. It also contains more spoilers than I normally provide but I hope this adds to your enjoyment of the series rather than detract from it. Here goes nothing!
Sons of Sam is not a docuseries about David Berkowitz, if this is what you were looking for, you'll likely be disappointed. It instead focuses on the life of journalist Maury Terry and his conviction that the “Son of Sam” did not commit the New York murders alone but as part of a satanic cult with a “famous” connection. Terry’s obsession with the conspiracy to hide this truth utterly consumed his every waking moment, ruining his marriage, physical health and reputation. For the record, I do not believe Maury Terry was a victim of satanic panic. His research is credible because of the presence of corroborative evidence (witness testimony, physical evidence) unlike in the Martensville case and it is hard to completely ignore the symbolism present in the “Son of Sam” letters. Nevertheless, this docuseries remains a cautionary tale about how ego, myopic focus, and media sensationalism can further bury truth.
Strengths: -Great structure, building tension and drama -Analysis of the police investigation and motives -Interviews with everyday New Yorkers circa 1976-80
Weaknesses: - I’m sure many will disagree, but I found the narration by Giamatti campy in a bad way -Focus on the Family connection