How do serial killers get away with murder — or, to be more accurate, multiple murders? That question has haunted Americans through the decades known as the so-called Golden Age of Serial Killers until today, fueling the ever-chugging true crime industry. The latest subject under the microscope has undoubtedly been John Wayne Gacy, who got the Peacock treatment last year with John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise, and is the next subject in Joe Berlinger’s Netflix property Conversations With a Killer. The John Wayne Gacy Tapes premieres on April 20, 2022.
Gacy — a seemingly upstanding member of his Chicagoland community who performed as a clown at children’s birthday parties — became infamous after nearly 30 bodies were found under his home in the late 1970s. He was convicted of 33 murders and executed in 1994. Almost 40 years later and his victims have still not all been identified. Berlinger’s new three-part series takes a deeper look at Gacy’s mentality and methods with help from 60 hours of audio recorded between the murderer and his defense team. It also features interviews with survivors and other people affected by Gacy’s crimes. Berlinger previously directed 2019’s Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, which centered around similar recordings from the infamous serial killer.
Last year’s John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise also delved into the whys and hows of Gacy’s killing spree, detailing how he leveraged his construction business to form powerful bonds with local cops and party officials, and how he used his position to lure his victims. Filmmakers also enlisted the help of Chicago journalists Tracy Ullman and Alison True, who have been digging into the case for almost a decade — specifically delving into how many people Gacy really killed, where the rest of his victims could be, and where investigators fell short.