TV Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark | An Unbalanced Atypical True Crime Docuseries

I heard about the late Michelle McNamara and her book when Patton Oswald was promoting on Seth Meyers’ show. I was very intrigued by that story but honestly made no moves to read the book or research its story. So when this documentary series came along, I thought great, even better because I’ll get to see some of the key pieces of evidence. Because when it comes to true crime stories, or any investigative tale seeing pictures, videos, and testimonies makes a difference.

The six part documentary series revolves around Michelle McNamara’s relentless examination of the unsolved crimes of the Golden State Killer who terrorized California in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Review: The first episode made sense, it was about the late author of the book “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer.” To me it was a get to know your Web Sleuths portion of the story interwoven with the case but it wasn’t as tightly knit as I needed it to be.

The pilot gave the tone for the rest of the series and it sort of was all over the place. I kept hopping that I would get a better grasp of every side to this story but I didn’t. At this point I feel like I got to know Michelle but the case is still a jumbled mess to me. It’s weird that I know more about the author than I do the investigation. My guess is that the show was made for the true crime feined of the world who are already well versed in this case, or the production tried their best to fill in a straight forward case of how a serial killer and rapist was caught. I’m in no way belittling the hard work Michelle and the people who helped her did. They did us a great service.

However, I expected a balance between getting to know the team of that help catch him, the victims, and the investigation. There’s not much of a balance here, but the show is chuck full of little gems, like how rape in the 70s sounds so common. The archive footage touching on that is baffling, it’s a crazy thing to see now. I appreciated that they didn’t spend too much time on the perpetrator, they didn’t glorify him, and didn’t just spend time on his intended victims but also on the collateral damaged he caused, both in his victims’ families and his own.  

However unbalanced it in its execution, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is not your usual true crime show, , because it’s not just focused on the crimes and the criminal, but it’s also about the victims and the chase to get former police officier Joseph DeAngelo.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

You can get the book that inspired the documentary here


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