“Night Stalker” begins with a montage that sets the tone for Los Angeles in the 1980s, portraying it as one of the most vibrant and growing communities in the world, but noting that there was a side to it too. dark croissant that wasn’t getting the same kind of press. The star of the docu-series is Detective Gil Carrillo, who was essentially an inexperienced kid when he led the Night Stalker investigation into the crimes with the legendary Frank Salerno, also a telling interview here. The best elements of “Night Stalker” humanize both Carrillo and Salerno, two men who focused every bit of their intellect and energy on this matter, so much so that Carrillo’s family had to go into hiding for their own safety. . These men couldn’t sleep until the Night Stalker was caught, and the way they dissected the patterns, the evidence, and ultimately reached Ramirez makes television fascinating.
It’s everywhere else that “Night Stalker” is a bit short. The shots of dripping blood and stabbing knives that lead to interview segments with survivors seem more exploitative than uplifting or enlightening. Yes, it’s important not to soften the hideousness of Ramirez’s crimes, and “Night Stalker” absolutely details his depravity in ways we’ve never really seen before, but it’s another one of those series that rests too much about the “real evil crime” cliché. Stock footage like shining knives and eerie shots of windows and backyards. It doesn’t add to the human stories of “Night Stalker” to frame them like nightmares seen on dozens of other shows on Investigation Discovery or “Dateline NBC”.
And yet the real people at the center of “Night Stalker” push back the weaknesses of the production to make an impact. Survivors tell stories that will haunt your nightmares. Journalists speak interestingly about the prosecution of the case, and there is quite a documentary to be made on the impact of journalism on major serial killer investigations in terms of information released and what is withheld in the news. name of justice. But it’s Carrillo and Salerno who are the beating heart of this series, which, despite its flaws, successfully picks up a story of evil from Los Angeles in the mid-80s and reframes it as a story of undeniably good men.
Now available on Netflix.