The Jeffrey Dahmer Series

By Keira De Vita

In late September, Netflix released the biographical crime drama, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. Jeffrey Dahmer, for those unaware, was a man who lived throughout the late twentieth century in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is known as the Milwaukee Serial Killer. Dahmer took the lives of seventeen men, all men of color– whose families are a pivotal part in real life, as well as through the episodes. The series contains ten episodes with run times ranging from forty minutes to seventy. The directors, Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, achieved pure perfection when capturing the essence of everything this series could have been and more. Viewers often struggle to get past the first three episodes due to the eerie cinematography and masterful casting. Not only did Evan Peters — who played Dahmer— encapsulate the essences of the disgusting man Dahmer was, but also he highlighted how creepily content Dahmer was with his actions.

The ten episodes explore the time period in Dahmer’s life from 1978 to 1994 with glimpses of his earlier years sprinkled in different episodes. The first three episodes are the hardest to watch, without a doubt. The first two episodes are focused towards his attempt at his last crime, horribly detailed and well captured. The third episode gives a brief ‘run-down’ of the type of relationship his parents have, and the environment he grew up in. His parents were extremely unstable together. Married at a young age, Dahmer’s parents, Linol and Joyce Dahmer, fell into fighting fits frequently due to miscommunication and Joyce Dahmer’s deadly use of substances. The other seven episodes cover around six to eight of his other victims, and the way in which Dahmer got away with his crimes. The families, mentioned previously, are important in the series because of the way in which they fight for the justice of their children or family members victim to Dahmer’s crimes. Each family does multiple things to try to exploit the criminal that Jefrey Dahmer really was, and to wake up the media to the amount of racism towards these families during this time specifically during trial. Murphy and Brennan, the directors, make sure not to exclude Jefery Dahmer’s personal experiences and thoughts throughout these crime-filled times which prove pivotal to this series. 

The creation of this series was important because of the fact that it highlights a long period of time in the history of crime in America. Often overlooked was the role of the justice system during the time period of the film series, which was unfair and was properly highlighted by the directors. The police force during this time, was a great problem, which was very much highlighted by Murphy and Brennan. It can often be pinpointed as the reason that Dahmer was not caught sooner in his events of crime. Specific police are seen in the series taking victims back to Dahmer and not believing or working meaningfully with victims. 

One thing that upset today’s media and the families directly affected by Dahmer’s crimes was the fact that Netflix and creators of the show did not ask the families of the victims to be replicated as they were in the film. Down to the outfits, trials and public happenings were identical. This series, made to educate people about this time, should have been handled differently to respect every party involved.