“Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer” is nerve-racking and emotional


Photo via The New York Post


As someone who cannot stand to be home alone, watching a murder docuseries is a rare occasion. However, “Night Stalker” was worth the nightmares. This limited series consists of four episodes that are each about 45 minutes long. The show breaks down the hunt for serial killer Richard Ramirez in the 1980’s, who was convicted of 13 counts of murder along with numerous other crimes.


The first episode starts off by introducing the audience to the detectives on the case who also narrate the episodes, detectives Gil Carrillo and Frank Salerno. The focus of this series is mostly on these detectives and their work rather than Ramirez and his violent acts. Each narrator is shown in an interview style, as the show switches between shots of them speaking and different shots correlating with the story. Since Carrillo was an inexperienced detective when Ramirez started his violent journey in 1984, he narrates his experience entering the field of detective work and shares about his personal life. I enjoyed this aspect of the show; it helps the audience understand the stress these detectives faced as they were trying to solve these crimes in such a large city.


I was constantly on the edge of my seat as new clues were discovered or crucial evidence was lost. Having narrators for this story increased my anxiety as you can hear their frustration or relief as the story unfolds. Also included as a minor narrator in this story was California news anchor, Laurel Erickson. Erickson shared about her difficulty of finding new information to report on with this case; at one point in the story she discovered a crucial piece of evidence that the detectives were using to identify which murders the Night Stalker had committed. The show went back and forth between the detectives and Erickson sharing their sides of the story. This format was unique and shared the difference in the detectives’ feelings about Erickson’s discovery versus her own excitement about what she uncovered.


I will warn you that this show does share photos of some of the crime scenes, which can be graphic. Many of the victims family members were interviewed in this show, sharing their raw and emotional experience of losing a relative in such a difficult way. Often times when I hear stories of violent crimes, similar to the ones Ramirez committed, I only think about the victim and not the impact a murder could have on relatives. Interviews of these family members were included throughout various parts of the story and shared their feelings and opinions over the years from when they first lost their relatives up until the end of Ramirez’s life.


 “Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer” provides the audience with a thrilling, yet emotional series. Although this show made me more concerned about staying home alone, seeing the hard work of every detective and even the southern California residents, makes me feel much safer and thankful for people who care about keeping each other safe.