I'll Be Gone in the Dark on HBO - documentary about the Golden State Killer (open spoilers)

First of all, if you know zero about this whole situation, you should watch this show totally blind. The less you know, the better the entire experience would be.

What a powerful documentary, especially the final two episodes, which deal with the death of Patton Oswalt’s wife and the discovery of who the Golden State Killer is. The final episode, where they talk to his family in addition to victims, is powerful. When a killer-rapist is exposed, the family of the criminal is also destroyed. Totally wiped out. I’m amazed they got anyone from his family to speak; the whole thing is so painful.

I’m so glad they caught him, even if it was 40 years after his crimes. How in the world did he go from serial rapist and killer to committing no violent crimes from 1986 on? Stunning.

Shame he is old now. I wish he had spent 50 years in prison.

Anyone else see this?

I watched it. The most gutting part for me was the sole male survivor to be featured in the doc. I think his name was Bob, and he and his wife were the only couple to come through the experience and remain together. Near the end there is a gathering of all the survivors who are talking about how this sort of sisterhood of East Area Rapist victims has helped them recover. And then there is Bob, looking kind of lost. There was no one there for him to talk to who knows what it’s like to be bound and helpless while your wife is assaulted. I hope the show results in some of the other male survivors reaching out to create their own support system the way the women have.

Yes, I watched it, and thought it was pretty good. My wife and one of my sons gave up on it after the first episode, though - just didn’t hook 'em. Since then, I’ve read a lot about the GSK and learned even more.

I really like the song in the opening credits - a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Avalanche” by Aimee Mann. I hope they’ll release a full-length version sometime, as has been rumored: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNATdMV6_WE

Yes, and I loved the show. I’ve seen criticism of Michelle’s book and the show was too focused on her, but I loved the show and her telling of it. I think what those critics miss out on is that she was in a way, one of the victims.

But back to the show, I am not a true crime lover or even liker. I am fascinated by abnormal psychology so that’s what kept me hooked, but I do not enjoy hearing about horrible things happening to people. So the other thing that hooked me was that I was a teenager in central California when he was raping women in Sacramento, then Stockton. It was weird and scary to think that I might wake up one night to find some hooded stranger standing over my bed. Then he seemed to disappear. Now, 30 years later, I give Michelle major kudos for digging it all up and connecting the dots between the East Area Rapist (that I was afraid of), Night Stalker, GSK, and all the other names that he went by. Dots that all of the police agencies in California failed to connect.

Yeah, that got to me, too. And earlier in the show when that couple was first introduced, I was watching the very subtle changes in his face as she described the rape. He was boomer generation, socialized to not show emotions and even more fortheloveofgod do NOT be weak! So for him to have been tied up and helpless while his wife was raped had to have been torture for him. And also torture for him to sit there and listen to her describe what happened to her. I felt so bad for him.

However, another thing they mentioned in the last episode was that they were the only couple who stayed together after all that happened. So he is a strong man, and they have a strong relationship. I hope he finds some comfort in that.

Am I right that the police used none of her and the other online-crime-solvers research? I think when the arrest happened, they were asked and said they did not use any of the research done outside the police. The only reference was using the term Golden State Killer.

That’s true, but I think it was because of the publicity from her article and from the renewed interest in the case that the police stepped up efforts to find him. They mention that during the last episode.

I watched the first episode and thought it focused too much on McNamara. Does it get better?

I agree as to the first episode, and yes, it does get better.

I’ll second that. The first two eps were a little slow.

I didn’t pick up on the fact that none of her research was used and that it was only her publicity that moved the case along. She did have contact with a former investigator though so it would seem that some of her ideas/research might have gotten to the right people.

QUESTION…what was the deal with the cops allowing her to haul away 30 boxes of records?

I’d vote ‘no.’
I really wanted to like this, and it was a big average at best. It was all about her, and less about the crime. The last two episodes especially could have been folded into the fourth episode. This really could have been tightened up.
One last point which is truly neither hear nor there, but I was a bit put off by how hearing how amazing their marriage was, and how she was the sun and the moon to him, only to find out he was engaged to be married 15 months after Michelle died. I understand that we all have our own timelines. But I found some of his earlier comments disingenuous in retrospect.

It wasn’t authorized and was facilitated by some detectives who have since been held accountable in a wider evidence mismanagement scandal at the Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. I almost wonder if one of those detectives just wanted his own office; the GSK evidence had its own room!

Thanks, I watched the rest and it did get better. I would not have watched it if I had known how gut wrenching the stuff with Oswalt and her siblings was going to be… But I am glad I did, the stuff with the killer’s relatives was powerful.

Looking back, the final episode was the highlight for me because of the interviews with DeAngelo’s family and the pictures they showed of him during his life.

I already knew most of the stuff about Patton Oswalt and had seen his comedy special where he discussed it. I had not seen the texts the morning of his wife’s death, though. Very haunting.

Nah, some people (and it seems to be much more common in men, at least in my experience) are able to move forward astonishingly fast after the death of their spouse. It doesn’t diminish what they had together. I can think up a lot of possibilities - transference, rebound, etc, but who knows? Better than being miserable for 10 years.

Yeah, if you follow Patton Oswalt on twitter or read about him, he checked in fairly often over the first year of his wife’s death. He wrote a year later about how he was still in a fog many times, but he could accept the fog of grief as part of his life.

His announcement of marriage was a huge surprise, but I think he just met the right woman at the exact right time. She has also written about how she never pictured marrying a widow and also becoming stepmom to their daughter, but sometimes things happen.

I know Patton wears two wedding rings still.

this week victims are giving statements in court. He will get life without parole , he plead guilty to 13 murders.

They required that he admit guilt to many, if not all, of the uncharged crimes as well. He did. He’s confirmed he did all(nearly all?) of the rapes, murders, ransackings, and everything. They were right it was all the same person and it was all him.

DeAngelo’s ex-wife submitted a statement to the court for use at sentencing: https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/21/us/golden-state-killer-sentencing/index.html

It was about the right length. By contrast Making a Murderer was probably 2x as long as needed.