Netflix has released a new trailer for its upcoming docuseries, The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness, which will premiere May 5th.
Directed by Joshua Zeman, the series revisits the infamous string of murders that shook New York City in the late Seventies but also explores the argument that David Berkowitz wasn’t a lone killer. To that end, the series delves into the work of journalist Maury Terry, who became convinced Berkowitz hadn’t acted alone and spent decades trying to prove it.
In an email to Rolling Stone, Zeman said he first heard of Terry and his work while making his first film, Cropsey, about a number of children who disappeared on Staten Island. There were rumors surrounding that case that linked it to the cult that may have also been involved in the Son of Sam killings.
“Originally, I thought the rumors were nothing more than Satanic Panic, but that’s when two NYPD detectives sat me down to tell me a story,” Zeman said. “They said there was far more to the Son of Sam case than the public knew. They told me to read Maury Terry’s book Ultimate Evil — which both fascinated and scared the shit out of me. Eventually, I sat down with Maury and put his theories to the test. Much to my surprise, I found myself seriously considering the unimaginable — that Berkowitz didn’t act alone, and that there were other Sons of Sam out there.”
Terry’s obsession with the Son of Sam killings took a toll on his own life and career (Terry died in 2015), and Zeman admits he was wary himself about falling too far down the rabbit hole. “I knew that could easily be me in 40 years, but also as much as I tried to fight it, I couldn’t help myself — I was hooked. Even today, it’s hard not to keep thinking maybe this last email or news article will be the clue that breaks the case. That’s also why this is a cautionary tale, not just for the world, but for me specifically.”
As to why Zeman wanted to revisit the Son of Sam killings and challenge the official narrative surrounding it now, he said, “Examining the case with a more skeptical eye, you can literally see how the police, the press and even the public all had a hand in creating this lone gunman mythology. Of course, you understand why it happened because this was such an incredible time in New York City, but you can also see these holes in the investigation start to appear, where bad decisions are being made and evidence is being missed, to the point that it’s shocking. And that’s what Maury was up against — and why despite all the evidence he had, he couldn’t convince the public of a different narrative. He just couldn’t change history — until now.”