A true crime docuseries based on Michelle McNamara’s excellent and absorbing book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, is coming to HBO, helmed by the brilliant and prolific documentarian Liz Garbus.
The timing of the docuseries is truly perfect—on April 24, authorities announced that they had arrested Joseph James D’Angelo on two counts of murder in connection with the case of the Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist. The book, which was published posthumously after McNamara’s sudden death in 2016, is an exhaustive piece of reporting that tracks one woman’s obsession with finding the man who terrorized a large swath of California in the late 1970s and 1980s, committing rapes, home invasions, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, at least 10 murders.
McNamara’s book, which I coincidentally read in one weekend, is a master of the genre—well-written, introspective, and obsessive without alienating the reader. While the authorities have said that McNamara’s reporting had nothing to do with their arrest, I find that hard to believe. Surely, there must have been something in her work that the authorities also found in theirs that led to the arrest of this man. Garbus, for what it’s worth, will certainly do a bang-up job with the material; her documentary work is wide-ranging and thoughtful, and above all, very good.
What Happened, Miss Simone?—her documentary about the life and times of Nina Simone for Netflix—opened Sundance in 2015 and was nominated for an Oscar in 2016. Her latest, The Fourth Estate, will premiere on Showtime on May 27 and serves as an in-depth look at The New York Times coverage of the Trump administration. I cannot wait to see what she does with this material, as heartbreaking and horrifying as it is.