Confronting a Serial Killer @ SXSW

This series taps into the reality that we are intrigued by darkness. Bad things and bad people. Such is the reason why things like films, documentaries or series about serial killers have always been very popular. The idea that there are monsters like this out there and trying to figure out why they are the way they are is, while frightening, interesting. We all know about Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy. So it is amazing to me that anyone I asked had not heard of Samuel Little.

Director and Emmy Award-winner Joe Berlinger and executive producer Po Kutchins bring us the story of serial killer Sam Little. But this is in no way your typical serial killer series in that it is as much about the woman who is bringing it to light, Jillian Lauren, as it is about the killer.

Jillian Lauren is a woman who has known dark moments in her life. She has struggled with addiction to drugs as well as having faced domestic violence at the hands of a former boyfriend. Her experience has led to her wanting to fight for women who have largely be ignored by the justice system and by society at large.

The two, Little and Lauren, have a relationship which is rather unique. While she was doing some research for a murder mystery novel in 2017 she discovered a little bit about the story of Sam Little. Lauren decided that there was a story there to be told or more to be about the man she believed to be a serial killer.

Lauren began looking into things even began a correspondence with Little, who was in jail. He was found guilty in 2014 for three murders committed in Los Angeles. Little was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole. Despite her fear of the man, Lauren began writing to him and even starting visiting him in prison in 2018. Many of the interviews she has had with him have been recorded.

What she ended up uncovering is chilling. He was a man who managed to slip through the cracks of the legal system, this despite possessing a rap sheet which was 100 pages long. Little was arrested in 24 different states for crimes which usually involved violence against women. He was tried over and over but kept getting off. Sam Little is now known as America’s most prolific serial killer. He killed 93 women in between the years of 1970 and 2005.

Little knew he could get away with it because he selected women as his victims who were invisible. Who no one cared about. His victims were largely sex workers, poor, addicts and marginalized. Violence against these women was largely ignored by police and the justice system. Jillian Lauren is trying to give them a voice, attempting to seek some sort of justice for them.

Incredible. Frustrating. Heartbreaking. These are all words which come to mind when thinking about this series. Unbelievable that this monster was able to operate like this for over three decades. An amazing crusade for justice by Jillian Lauren. You also find yourself holding your breath while watching hoping that Lauren does not become, in some respect or another, another of Little’s victims.

Confronting a Serial Killer will air on Starz beginning April 18, 2021.

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