• Morgan Fagg


Watching Netflix's Unbelievable New Series

Netflix is really starting to impress me after watching two amazing new series in the last few weeks. Messiah, the story of a modern-day Jesus Christ was simply incredible and Unbelievable was well unbelievable.

I will talk about Messiah in a separate blog. Unbelievable follows the manhunt for a serial rapist and the many twists and turns it takes to find him as the perpetrator has masked his tracks very well with forensic countermeasures.

By wearing a mask and gloves and making his victims shower afterward, the police are left with little useful leads to follow and in one case, the victim is straight-up not believed when it emerges that she is from Foster care.

The detectives detect problems with her story and soon she is branded a liar and the case closed.

Naturally, the victim is at a loss trying to put her life together as a result of the violation and being from Foster care, there aren’t always a lot of people to trust and confide in.

Meanwhile, two female detectives team up on two separate cases and start to pull at a string of attacks in different towns which show a pattern even if the attacks varied quite a bit.

The perpetrator targets different age groups both young and old and even crosses racial lines. The only thing in common is that the women were all living alone at the time and the police are left with little clues to go on.

I immediately recognised that by using a knife and later a gun, his modus operandi wouldn't stick out to different police departments and each case would be investigated separately without any sharing of intelligence between different departments in different towns.

There are many limitations in police work of course and even at the highest level, there have been problems of sharing important information with different teams as was seen when a female FBI agent reported her concerns about men wanting to learn how to fly airplanes without wanting to know how to land them.

Those men went on to fly 757s and 767s into the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC. After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, departments were forced to co-operate more with other agencies whereas before that the CIA, for example, would never share foreign intelligence with a domestic agency like the FBI even if the subjects they were monitoring came to the USA.

As for the choice of weapon, I remember the story of a brutal mafia hitman who varied his M.O. every time so the police wouldn’t connect the dots that it was the same guy. He would shoot, strangle and stab knowing that none of the murders would connect to the same killer.

I wonder how he was actually caught in the end.

Television has taught us about serial killers repeating and perfecting the same routine but how do we know that the same person hasn’t committed similar crimes if there isn’t an obvious pattern?

I’m sure we just have to hope that he or she gets sloppy and caught the next time, they are committing a crime. Even in famous cases such as Ted Bundy, the serial killer was only caught because the police stopped him for a broken taillight and nothing else.

It is reassuring to know that there are detectives prepared to go the extra mile to piece these horrible puzzles together and we must be grateful to the real-life detectives who solved this heinous crime.

As unbelievable as this miniseries sounds, it is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning article written by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong which was published in ProPublica and The Marshall Project.

I have included a link to ProPuplica's "An Unbelievable Story of Rape" article here.


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