Boston Strangler and Booming True Crime Industry


Ashley Ragone

Over the last few years, society has noticed a drastic shift in the public’s media interests. More than ever, TV and movies have shifted their focus onto true crime and the macabre. Whether it is fascination with these individuals’ psyche or pure curiosity in the unknown that is death, shows such as Dahmer and The Murdaugh Murders have gained widespread popularity. Released on March 17 of 2023, Boston Strangler takes a new angle focusing on the reporters who first broke the story of a serial killer in the MA town. Loretta McLaughlin, a reporter for the Record American, broke from the tradition of her usual lifestyle section assignments to track a series of murders in her town. As she dug deeper into the details of each, she was able to connect certain patterns of the crime scenes to identify a killer on a rampage. Teamed with Jean Cole, they broke the stereotypes for women in the 1960s to bring hard-hitting journalism and inform the public. Risking both their life and their families, they made the city aware of the crimes and connections.

Unfortunately, despite the overall truth behind the events, some of these productions aren’t always met with positivity. Dahmer, a Netflix series analyzing the victims and downfall of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer received great criticism for not getting the consent of the families to tell the story of the victims. As a matter of fact, one of the family members who was portrayed in the show was not made aware of the fact that she was a character in the show. In these cases, families are disappointed how stories are potentially twisted or misrepresented as they don’t have the ability to control the legacy of their loved one. In addition to this, many members of the LGBTQ+ community were angered by how the series portrayed Dahmer’s homosexuality in a negative light before looking at his psychology as a person, pushing a harmful stereotype because of one trait of him rather than the person as a whole. True crime is a very nuanced genre of media, and begs the moral question of how finding entertainment in the suffering of others is excusable; which some people believe is a disturbing idea.