Dahmer Series Recap: The Controversial TV Show

 Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Series” is the new buzzing series on Netflix that has been accompanied by much discourse. The limited-run series is a 10-episode season that depicts the horrific crimes that serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer committed, as well as the pain and suffering the victims’ families endured by the cannibalistic murderer. 

Notoriously known as the “Milwaukee Cannibal”, Jeffrey Dahmer was an American sex offender and serial killer who dismembered and killed seventeen young boys and men, ages ranging from 14-31, between the 1970s-1990s. His murders included acts of cannibalism, necrophilia, and preservation of dismembered body parts. On February 17, 1992, Dahmer was sentenced to sixteen terms of life imprisonment for his fifteen murders, including an additional homicide that was added on in 1978. 

Decades after the serial killer’s conviction and murder, Jeffrey Dahmer’s chronicled story from his adolescent life to his killing spree became an attention-grabbing plot for true crime books, movies, and series. A new hit series from Netflix, “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Series” has become one of many pieces of entertainment centered around the serial killer.

The series explores the motives of the serial killer surrounding the murders he committed within the timeline of 1978-1991. Starring Evan Peters, the acclaimed actor portrays Dahmer and acts out his heinous acts of crime. The show also details the misjudgment and aberration of the police force to stop the murders and dismemberment of many young and queer men of color. The first episode depicts the end of Dahmer’s crimes. While he makes his move to court his next victim, the man escapes and flags down the police. At the same time, his next-door neighbor, Glenda Cleveland, played by Niecy Nash, has innumerable concerns about the noises and smells coming from Dahmer’s apartment. Once the police have Jeffery in custody, they discover gruesome items in his home. In the other episodes, the show reminisces Dahmer’s adolescent life, which details his questionable actions with animal dismemberment and drugging a local teen, to his young adult life, which discusses his army discharge due to his alcohol abuse, his forthcoming with his sexual identity, to his first murder. 

Although the series is still relatively new to the Netflix platform, there has been an immense amount of critical response; from critics to the victims’ family members.

Even though the show has racked in 300 million watch hours in the second week of its premiere and has become one of Netflix’s biggest hits, it has come with much controversy and backlash.

 Currently, on TV and film critic site Rotten Tomatoes, the series currently sits at 53% on the “Tomatometer” and consists of mixed and good reviews. The TV series still stands at 45/100 on another critic site Metacritic. The show has also gotten backlash due to the probable “glorification” and “exploitation” of Dahmer’s crimes as well as his victims. One of the victim’s family members, Rita Isbell, states in a personal essay for Insider that she is bothered about the show’s portrayal of her emotional impact statement in 1992 at Jeffery Dahmer’s sentencing.  Additionally, her cousins Eric Perry spoke up against the show in a Twitter thread, stating how the reenactment of the impact statement, as well as the show itself, is “retraumatizing”. While family members pointed out the mishaps the TV show, many people took online to state support for the families and advocated for the victims of Jeffery Dahmer, who were all predominately brown and black boys, as well as queer young men.