Confronting a Serial Killer puts Samuel Little’s victims in the spotlight

Confronting a Serial Killer Episode 1 - Courtesy of Starz
Confronting a Serial Killer Episode 1 - Courtesy of Starz /

Tonight Starz’s new true crime docuseries Confronting a Serial Killer premiers. This chilling, five-part series follows author Jillian Lauren’s relationship to serial killer Samuel Little during his time in prison. Jillian made it her mission to try and match as many cold cases to the killer as possible, to bring justice to Samuel’s unknown victims.

What makes Confronting a Serial Killer isn’t its cold-hearted murderer, but the way the show focuses on the victims. Even though Little is reported to be America’s most prolific killer, his name isn’t as well-known as someone like Ted Bundy.

The reason for that is likely because Little prayed on minorities, often choosing sex workers and impoverished women that so often get overlooked by our justice system. Director Joe Berlinger, who previously worked on Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes for Netflix, chatted with Variety about his desire to create a true crime series that would look at the people surrounding him rather than the killer itself.

“He was a guy who the police arrested, paid attention to for the petty crimes, but their suspicions that he was mainly preying upon Black sex workers, that’s where the indifference came in: law enforcement did not feel compelled to bring him off the street because the victims were victims who were of lower priority,” said Berlinger.

In recent years, the true crime genre has seen increasing criticism, especially in light of the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements, because of its tendency to glamorize the monsters we know. It’s one thing to make a movie about a fictional slasher, another thing to continuously saturate our televisions with films and documentaries about the killers themselves.

Knowing how many fans murderers like Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer have amassed over the years is a harrowing and disturbing byproduct of our obsession with humanity’s darkest corners. But what about the victims and their families? Why are they so often forgotten?

Confronting a Serial Killer
Confronting a Serial Killer Episode 1 – Courtesy of Starz /

Confronting a Serial Killer puts Samuel Little’s victims front and center

Yes, Confronting a Serial Killer contains legitimate recordings and conversations with Little, but the real heart of this tale isn’t about him. It’s about the atrocities he committed and the people he left buried. If this docuseries can bring peace to some families and help them find out the truth about what happened to their loved ones, then that’s a positive.

“For me, the whole reason to do the show was to do it through Jillian’s point of view and to make it a very victim-focused show. It’s shining a light on decades of a system that does not value a certain kind of victim,” Berlinger told Variety.

50 greatest horror movies. dark. Next

Confronting a Serial Killer premieres tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on Starz. The first episode is also available to stream via the Starz app right now.