A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series is focused on how investigators solved the case and captured the Night Stalker, and less on the serial killer himself. The personal toll the experience had on all who were involved in it is discussed.
Positive Role Models
The investigators seem casual in their manner, but were clearly committed to capturing Richard Ramirez and protecting citizens. Gil Castillo is Latinx, as is the killer.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of graphic crime scene descriptions about, and photos of, the injured and dead in various positions, and often covered in blood, bruises, etc. (Their identities are partially hidden with a black line over the eyes.) Weapons used are described, and sometimes shown. Sexual violence is also discussed. References are made to Satanism, and pentagrams are visible. The capture of Ramirez at the hands of a community mob is described.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Richard Ramirez groupies are shown in revealing photographs (their identities and private parts partially hidden with thick black lines). Some sexually suggestive behavior is also discussed.
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"Bitch," "damn" and stronger curses ("s--t," "f--k") are often used during interviews.
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Products & Purchases
Labels for Mountain Dew, Jack Daniels, and others are visible, but within context. Local Los Angeles haunts are also discussed.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking at bars is described, and hard alcohol is sometimes consumed during interviews.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the docuseries Night Stalker: The Hunt For A Serial Killer is about the search for killer Richard Ramirez. It has lots of graphic content, including gruesome crime scene footage. "Bitch," "damn" and stronger curses ("s--t," "f--k") are often used during interviews. There's also some sexual discussion, and drinking (hard alcohol). Given the nature of the crimes discussed, as well as its explicit content, it's best left to older, more mature viewers.
Is It Any Good?
The interesting but graphic docuseries offers a well-produced story about those responsible for putting the Night Stalker behind bars, and the process by which they did it. Both Frank Salerno and Gil Carillo talk about what it was like to work the case, including their frustrations with the territorial nature of different law enforcement agencies, and having to negotiate with the media in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation. Some of this is a little dry and long-winded, but it also serves to highlight how slow and meticulous the process was, despite the fact that Ramirez continued to terrorize California.
The comprehensive way in which the former members of law enforcement describe some of the horrendous crimes, while understandable, is unsettling. But it is the overall use of revealing crime scene photographs, many of which clearly show severely injured people, bloody corpses, and mutilated body parts, that is most disturbing. This, coupled with the revealing descriptions of what victims endured, nearly crosses the line from being informative to exploitative. Nonetheless, if you like crime documentaries, you'll probably find Night Stalker: The Hunt For A Serial Killer a binge-worthy viewing option.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.