With the success of the podcast Serial and the Netflix TV series Making a Murderer, documentary investigations into miscarriages of justice and crimes have never been more popular. Traditional confidence and belief in our law enforcement agencies and the court system has been shown time and again to be misplaced. The latest project from Executive Producer Alex Gibney (Going Clear: Scientology, Enron: The Smartest Guy in the Room), The Killing Season, begins with the hunt for a loan serial killer.
Joshua Zeman and Rachel Mills investigate the unsolved murders of ten sex workers found on Gilgo Beach, Long Island. Believed by the police to be the work of the Long Island Serial Killer, the pair set about trying to discover his identity. What they find is an institutional apathy to the deaths of prostitutes and drug addicts and a trail negligence and incompetence. They also uncover possible connections with spates of murder committed in other parts of the US and unearth an extremely worrying larger trend.
Whilst The Killing Season fails to uncover the identity of the Long Island Serial Killer, it’s successful in illustrating a jaw-dropping pattern of murders and a broken system. The fact that all these deaths haven’t caused a major political scandal is telling. More than anything, Mills and Zehman aim to raise awareness of these issues and try and elicit evidence to bring the murderers to justice. The Killing Season is an enthralling and compassionate piece of investigative filmmaking which utilises amateur sleuths to unearth tragic institutional failures.
The Killing Season premieres on A&E with back to back episodes on 12 November.