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The Night Stalker reveals a truly dark and evil man

True crime is my favorite type of genre, and Netflix has made many original true crime documentaries over the years that were truly exceptional. The true crime docuseries that may end up sticking with me the longest is The Night Stalker. 

This four part series tells the story of Richard Ramirez, a serial killer and rapist who was convicted of thirteen murders, five attempted murders, eleven sexual assaults, and fourteen burglaries in 1989, according to Britannica. He went after everyone, male or female, white or black, and even sexually abused children, committing his crimes during the summer of 1985 all over L.A. and San Francisco. 

True crime is a dark and gritty genre in general, but this series can get especially dark. It certainly does not shy away from showing the gruesomeness of the crimes that Ramirez committed. It has plenty of disturbing crime scene photos and even some recreations of the crime scenes. There is plenty of blood, and many moments that may cause some viewers to look away. The Night Stalker series is probably the most graphic true crime docuseries I have seen, and these graphic details even caused some controversy. 

Some went to Twitter to say that the series went too far in its content, saying “No need for them to include the victim crime scene photos, and slo-mo blood splatter shots, it’s not necessary,” according to the New York Post. Indie writer Ann Donahue said the crime scene reenactments were “cheesy B-movie grade visuals” that took away from the serious subject matter. Another critic, Medium writer Eric Langburg  thought the visuals amounted to “violence porn.”

A Twitter response to the Netflix series Photo by Lucas Johnson

While the series is indeed graphic, it isn’t graphic without reason. Richard Ramirez is a truly sick and disturbed individual, and his crimes were extremely violent and brutal. The crime scene photos are shown to illustrate that point, and drive home the lack of remorse and show how much of a monster the man was. The series wants us to despise the man that did this, and wants to show how important it was that Ramirez was caught as quickly as possible.

Other Twitter users defended the show and its graphic nature, including Twitter user tevalas, who said “I disagree. I lived through this. What this man did was what caused my parents to actually lock our windows at night. He wasn’t just a serial killer, he was a terrorist.” 

A response to the Netflix Series. Photo by Las Johnson

The graphic nature of the series does not take impact away from the story. The violence of the series only helps to increase its impact on the viewer, and while the content is graphic, it is also necessary. It is necessary to show the brutality of Ramirez and his actions because of how much consequence his actions caused. He caused the death of people and families, and left emotional scars not only on his victims, but also the people whose job it was to stop him. It is necessary to put into context how scared the people of L.A. were during this time, not knowing who would be attacked next.

The interviews of the survivors of Ramirez are extremely powerful, making you feel how much of an impact that their experience had on them and how it affected their lives. A survivor was even quoted as saying that while Ramirez was attacking her, she told him she would swear to God that she would be quiet for him. Ramirez then responded with the most chilling quote of the entire series, telling her “don’t swear to God, swear to Satan.” The fear he instilled in people is important for the viewer to understand, and this series does an excellent job of that with some stellar interviews. In fact, the ones being interviewed were all very interesting people with interesting stories to tell, and greatly elevated the series and its emotional impact.

“Don’t swear to God, swear to Satan.”

Richard Ramirez

Seeing the stress that was put on the main investigators of the case and the emotion they showed throughout the interview was perhaps the most powerful moment of the show for me. The main investigator on the case, Gil Geurreo, ended his interview in tears, and talked about how proud his father would have been to see his son catch the Night Stalker. Connecting with these people and seeing their human and emotional side brought a great perspective to the series, and made me want to see them succeed that much more.

Overall, this is an outstanding crime docuseries, and one of my personal favorites. While it can get very dark at times and shows a lot of crime photos, if you can withstand it, you are in for a fascinating cat and mouse between cop and killer, and a story that has a lot of emotion with those involved. It will definitely make you feel both good and bad things, but for a true crime buff, it is a must watch.

Infographic by Lucas Johnson

Lucas Johnson, Staff Reporter

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The Night Stalker reveals a truly dark and evil man