Netflix produces record-breaking Jeffrey Dahmer series



Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer on Netflix’s Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. receiving his charges for his crimes in court.

Trigger warning: Article containing graphic details of serial killer. 

Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and his story have once again boomed in popularity after the newest ten-episode series came out, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. Played by Evan Peters, this TV show follows the victims’ experiences with Jeffrey Dahmer, a cannibal serial killer, who wreaked havoc in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for three years with very little suspicion.  

 The show set groundbreaking records as the ninth most-watched English-language Netflix series of all time. However, despite its overwhelming popularity, and staggering reviews, not everyone is pleased with the release of the series. 

There were many suspicious incidents that should have revealed Dahmer and his crimes a lot earlier. For example, the reeking aroma of his victims lurking around his apartment, and the neighbor’s constant reports of suspicion to what he was doing.  

Many believed this was due to racial discrimination and homophobia, and the public blamed the police department for not taking this case seriously. One specifically controversial instance was when the police officers returned a 14-year-old unconscious Laotian boy to Dahmer’s apartment, after Glenda Cleveland, his neighbor, protested that they at least check his age. 

His bloodthirst shocked the entire nation as more victims were revealed. This case has left a lasting impact on the way people see law enforcement. Considered one of the most deranged killers in history, his white privilege and the constant overlooking of those who reported his actions, let him escape arrest time and time again. 

Many have also spoken about how racism and homophobia played a part in who his victimology. Dahmer preyed on primarily African American, Asian, and Latino men, 11 out of (total number of victims) victims being African American. Many believed this was because they were an easier target due to where they lived and the unreliable law enforcement.  

Rita Isbell, the sister of Errol Lindsey, one of Dahmer’s victims, claims she was not aware of her involvement in the series prior to its production. 

“I feel like the victim’s families should’ve consented to the portrayal of their stories, especially since it was publicized on such a large platform to the world,” said Molly Ratinoff (‘23), who recently watched the series over October break. 

Upon hearing this news, viewers have formulated a discussion on how the show may force families of victims to relive their trauma, and how this story has been exploited solely for the profit of Netflix rather than bringing light to this heartbreaking case. 

The casting of Evan Peters, notorious for his roles in American Horror Story and X-Men: Apocalypse, has created controversy all around the internet. Many viewers have taken a liking to the actor despite the character’s severely disturbing actions, and have edited clips of Evan Peters playing the role of Dahmer to appeal his attractiveness to audiences.  

Film audiences often do not realize the actor is separate from the character, which is evident in social media as viewers continue to praise Jeffrey Dahmer in the show.  

“Evan Peters is really good looking,” said Clarence Deng (‘23), going on to further explain how many viewers may view his actions differently due to his conventionally attractive appearance.  

However, regardless of the controversy, Evan Peters put on a remarkable performance, impressing many Webb students who watched the show.  

“I thought the actor did a great job and the portrayal of the character was well done,” Molly said. 

In just 10 episodes, Evan Peters hooks the audience into a vivid, in-depth portrayal of not only Jeffrey Dahmer, but also the perspective of his victims and the stories they would have shared.  

Along with this controversy comes further criticism that Dahmer’s story has been overdone in the entertainment industry. With over five different movies and TV shows based on the serial killer, many people have questioned what sets this new series apart.  

“I like how the show told the story of the victims instead of it being told through Jeffrey Dahmer’s view,” said Jolina Zhao (‘23) 

Not only did this series bring a new focal point to the victims rather than just Jeffrey Dahmer’s view, but Evan Peters’s performance and the media attention further brought to Dahmer’s case has brought awareness to the implicit corruption within the justice and law enforcement systems.  

However, despite this, people were still represented without their consent and stories of countless victims have forced communities to relive this trauma, so recognizing these flaws is integral to being mindful consumers of the show.