[Review] Jeffrey Dahmer series sparks controversy amongst victims’ families


Tribune News Service

Evan Peters acts as Jeffrey Dahmer in Netflix’s “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.” Photo courest of Netflix/TNS.

Dhaanya Balaji, Associate Design Editor

On Sept. 21, Netflix released a new series called Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story which quickly reached the top 10 most watched list with over 700 million hours viewed. The plot was based on the real life serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer who was played by actor Evan Peters who is best known for his roles in American Horror Story. The show picked up backlash just a few days after the release.

Dahmer’s story started off with how his parents’ constant fighting took a toll on him psychologically. He and his dad bonded over examining the roadkill and learning about the anatomy of each animal they analyzed.

The series moved on to show how his sexuallity impacted the choice of victims and the specifics of each murder, as well as how it made him feel. Watchers understood every perspective of each murder, Dahmer, the victim’s families, the victims themselves, and his father. Although well made, the series raised numerous discussions.

The victim’s families were particularly unhappy about the show airing. They felt as though certain scenes were over-dramatized. For example, Rita Isabel, the sister of victim Errol Lindsey, said that her scene where she spoke her mind to Jeffrey was over exaggerated for the entertainment value.

Another disturbing aspect of the show is that Netflix never contacted them about the production. Along with this, the families did not gain any benefit from the production, such as donations or value to the victims. Additionally, there are multiple documentaries and movies made about the entire case which lead to disagreements about the show in general.

After seeing the tweet made by @ericthulhu, many came to support the family on twitter by posting comments under the tweet by agreeing with Perry or sending their regards. A big controversy about the Dhamer series is that the show idealized Dahmer and glorified his actions rather than showing respect to the 17 victims.

Netflix had originally placed this series in categories which felt insensitive. Before being removed, the series was placed in the LGBTQ+ section. What surprised many was the LGBTQ+ section as more laid back shows and movies appear, such as Heartstopper. Even though Dahmer himself was gay, when compared to shows like Heartstopper, it just didnt make sense to viewers because of the gruesome events that occurred against the victims. Similarly, the insensitivity grew when @netflix tweeted a clip of a scene to promote entertainment due to the fact that the police sent a victim back to Dahmer’s house. The used scene can be seen in the linked tweet.

Along the popular social media platform TikTok, controversy regarding the show rose when users continuously posted about how they were unfazed by the grim acts done by Dahmer and that it needed to be more graphic. Individuals spoke out about how viewers needed to remember that these were real people who had to go through these tough events.

Although the series showed each case through many perspectives, it was not all accurate. One inaccuracy was that Glenda Cleveland was not his neighbor, she was actually living in another building near Dahmer but still called the cops on him. Near the end, the two officers in Netflix’s tweet got awards but were actually suspended. Additionally, certain interactions at the bars between Dahmer and the victim may not have occurred.

Evan Peters’ portrayal was effective because he made sure to make the character seem charming at first but intimidating next. Peters needed to depict each stage of Dahmer’s life to show the progression into more manic attacks. Overall, the depiction was well done by Peters as he portrayed each stage of his progression to his extreme brutality.

The praises are that the show itself makes sure that each victim’s case is explained and acted out detail by detail. This gives viewers a full scope of what damage he had truly done to the city of Milwaukee. Overall, I would recommend this show but also say that viewers read all warnings before starting.