Parents' Guide to

Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

True crime docu is explicit, informative, and for adults.

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The disturbing three-part series combines an interesting history of New York City's iconic Times Square with sensational details about some of the horrific murders committed by Richard Cottingham. Much of this is offered within the context of Times Square's seedy past, and provides an interesting review of what it was like as a major sex industry hub, and how it was transformed into the tourist attraction it is today. In doing so, it highlights how many of Cottingham's victims were made invisible thanks to the patriarchal culture surrounding sex work, and how this contributed to his ability to continue hurting women.

Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer is full of upsetting stories and images, including an interview with the serial killer, who continues to confess to violent murders he allegedly committed in New York and New Jersey. But it's also substantive, and offers details about how cultural shifts resulting from the Women's Movement and AIDS led to major changes in the area. More importantly, it succeeds at humanizing some of Cottingham's victims by sharing their backstories, introducing people affected by their deaths, and underscoring how the survivors who came forward made it possible to convict him. If you like true crime entertainment, this series won't disappoint.

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