John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Lonnie David Franklin, Jr. and Charles Manson are serial killers whose stories have been adapted into feature films or limited series at one time or another. The fascination with these men and their heinous crimes is legendary at best.
When Tony Curtis portrayed Albert DeSalvo in the 1968 television feature “The Boston Strangler,” his performance was so convincing that women all over the country became terrified at the prospect history could repeat itself.
The “Mad Strangler,” also dubbed the “Phantom Fiend” and “Phantom Strangler” by the local press, was responsible for killing 13 women by strangulation between June 1962 and January 1964. Albert DeSalvo eventually confessed to all 13, yet many assumed the investigation was incomplete. More than a dozen single women in the age range of 19 to 85 were killed in the greater Boston area. Was there really only one Boston Strangler?
In this Hulu feature, Loretta McLaughlin becomes the first person to connect a series of murders and break the story of the Boston Strangler. She and Jean Cole challenge the sexism of the early 1960s to report on the city’s most notorious serial killer. McLaughlin believed that George Nassar and Daniel Marsh were responsible for 12 of the murders and DeSalvo for the 13th. For the next 46 years, the case remained open. There were apparently no more victims, either.
Then, in 2013, the police had a breakthrough using DNA found on a water bottle belonging to DeSalvo’s nephew, Tim, link the final victim, 19-year-old Mary Sullivan, to Albert DeSalvo.
Unlike previous versions, the focus is shifted from the murderer and victims to the actual unraveling of the case by a pair of women journalists juggling the status quo, famly life and presenting the public with as much of the truth that they possibly can.
Carrie Coon (Jean Cole) and Keira Knightly (Loretta McLaughlin) are equally yoked in the amount of strength, vulnerability and tenacity explored through their portrayals. These women are stoic., cool and powerful as two women fighting it out and standing their ground amongst a male chauvinistic world of journalism. Their reporting prowess sometimes supersedes their colleagues placing them far above them in every sense of the word.
Even though we know the outcome, director Matt Ruskin will have you gasping for air with all the twists and turns.
In tandem with the film, ABC Audio released a trailer for “Truth and Lies: The Boston Strangler,” a true-crime companion podcast to the film “Boston Strangler.” The three-part narrative series premiered March 1 serving as the first collaboration between ABC Audio and 20th Century Studios, both of which are part of The Walt Disney Company.
Award-winning journalist and author Dick Lehr hosts the show, which draws from the ABC News archive and features new interviews with relatives of those involved in the case. “Truth and Lies: The Boston Strangler” is available for free on major listening platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM, Stitcher, TuneIn, Audacy, and the ABC News app.