You know that feeling when you discover a series that is such a gem that you find yourself sitting, bleary-eyed, staring into your laptop at 2am, unable to tear yourself away from the screen? The pull and the promise of ‘just one more episode’ is both annoying (because we’ve still got to get up for kids/work/life the next morning), but so exhilarating because it’s just that damn good.
That’s exactly where I’m at at the moment with the new ten-part Netflix series, I Am a Killer. I am so far into the vortex of this show I can’t even tell you.
True crime has been bigger than big for the last several years with streaming series, books, movies and podcasts dropping into our feeds consistently enough to keep our appetites at bay. But there’s something really different about I Am a Killer; it offers us an insight into the lives of inmates convicted of crimes who are currently on death row – in their own words. The stories are told from all sides; the victims, the families and legal teams, but the real focus is on the perpetrator themselves. And it’s bloody fascinating. Check out the trailer…
There’s the case of James Robertson, an inmate who had been placed in ‘Close Management’ (similar to solitary confinement) for years in prison, and when eventually moved and given a cell mate, he murdered him just to get on death row because the conditions there were so much better. And, he just doesn’t want to live anymore.
There’s the case of Kenneth Foster, a man who was driving a car with three friends as passengers when one of them got out and shot Michael LaHood Jnr in the driveway of his family home. Although Kenneth was in the car the entire time and maintains that he didn’t know his friend was going to shoot Michael, he was given the death penalty.
And that’s just the first two episodes.
I Am a Killer weaves its way through each story beautifully and respectfully, and leaves you wondering about all the ‘what-ifs’ in the lives of these men. While it doesn’t excuse their crimes and most are exactly where they should be in prison, looking at pictures of these men as kids, often growing up neglected by drug addicted parents with no love, no support, no money and no future, you can’t help but be moved by what could have been for them (and their victims) if their upbringings had have been different.
Each episode gives a really balanced perspective from all sides and just when you think you’ve made up your mind on a case, something flips, and you’re back to square one. It’s moving and powerful, will leave you feeling just about every emotion possible and stir your beliefs in forgiveness and redemption – no matter which side you’re coming from. Most of all, it’ll leave you 100% compelled to JUST. KEEP. WATCHING. So tread with caution, because once you’ve been reeled in to this one, it won’t let go until you’ve made your way to the end.
Lisa Wilkinson has spoken to SO many fascinating people over the years and we LOVED this chat she had with us On the Couch, which you can listen to below. Don’t forget to come hang with us in podcast land by subscribing here. Easy peasy!