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I'll Be Gone in the Dark


A six-part true crime miniseries that's at LEAST two hours too long, I'LL BE GONE IN THE DARK has plenty of inspiring and dramatic moments, but collapses under its ridiculous length.

Novelist Michelle McNamara became fascinated with the decades long series of rapes and murders committed by the Golden State Killer.

Digging into everything she can find online and partnering with several well known true crime podcast hosts, McNamara immerses herself into the victims and their history.

Slowly, she begins to uncover clues that detectives seem to have failed to connect, narrowing in on the still-at-large murderer.

Anyone who's seen more than a few "Datelines" will be familiar with the approach to a cold case, but the most fascinating part of this story for me was two- fold.

First it was the fact that Sacramento in the 1970's was the "rape capitol of the world" and we see a mountain of evidence to establish that fact. The seemingly casual disregard for some of the victims by law enforcement and society of the day is shocking and disturbing. Newscasts and interviews of the day are pretty startling by today's light.

While the story of who the killer is in interesting, there was no mystery for me as we had seen several Datelines and 20/20's about the story and already knew who the killer was.

What drew me in was McNamara's story itself. Married to comic Patton Oswalt, several hours reveal deep glimpses into their relationship, Patton's incredibly kind support of his wife and his growing concern as she is pulled too deep into the story.

There is real tragedy here, for both the victims and McNamara. Watching the literal room full of surviving victims rally and find their voice as the man who committed these crimes is inspiring. These women are incredible, as are the surviving male victims.

But McNamara and Oswalt's story is the heart that runs through the decades long history that's explored. I've always really liked Patton and got to meet him once at an event for a video release when I worked with the studio. He was quiet, genuine and sincere when I talked with him. Those qualities are firmly on display here.

This could have been a suspenseful, fascinating miniseries, but it feels bloated, long, repetitive and sometimes hampered by the voiceover narration from McNamara's novel.

It recovers well in its final hour, giving you one on one's with the victims and the family of the horrific serial killer after his arrest. It's some fascinating perspective on the full impact of decades of terror.

Too bloated and meandering to be great, I'LL BE GONE IN THE DARK gets a C.

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