Review – Tales of the Grim Sleeper

Are documentaries about serial killer’s who are able to kill over 100 women over a 25 year period without getting caught your type of thing? Well you may want to stop what you’re doing right this very second and watch Tales of the Grim Sleeper. 

Perhaps one of the most shocking documentaries I’ve ever come across, Nick Broomfield delves into the case of the notorious serial killer known as ‘Grim Sleeper’ who unapparent to the local neighbourhood, terrorised South Central Los Angeles over a span of twenty-five years. Lonny Franklin Jr to many, including his friends, was just a guy who happened to love women however behind closed doors, he appeared to be one of the most awful men that has walked this planet, killing over 100 black women. 

This documentary, predominantly led by a wonderful member of the local community Pam Brooks, roamed the streets of the local community, speaking to people who knew the Grim Sleeper. After Lonny was arrested in 2010 – only after his son’s DNA was matched to the suspected murderer’s of  a string of black women – police claimed it was the reward of 20 years of investigations. However, as the beautifully charismatic Pam, a former prostiute helps transport us round the local area, it becomes apparent just how little the police cared. One after another, women went missing and yet no warnings were sent out to the community with one member of the public stating, ‘they don’t care – why? Because they are black women, we are seen as the lowest of the low.’

This was one of the most saddening aspects of the programme, and seems to have stayed with me ever since. The lack of care, or respect, for black women in this community by people who are paid to protect the public from crime, is just completely unbelievable and the matter of fact way the local community in South Central Los Angeles accepted this, was simply astonishing.

The documentary spoke to the Grim Sleeper’s best friends, who at first, were extremely reluctant for the camera crew to even be in the neighbourhood, never mind speak to them. What was perhaps most shocking was how their friend’s crimes were completely unbeknown to them. It was actually quite haunting how they just had no idea of his crimes, despite spending such long periods over time in his company, over a span over several decades. One even commented on how it was just common knowledge that Lonny carried a gun with him, however little did they know it was the exact gun which was killing innocent young women.

Tales of the Grim Sleeper was gripping, striking and powerful. Nick Broomfield undertook research that the Los Angeles police should have carried out years ago, with the findings chilling. An eye-opener for anyone interested or concerned about the political indifference to the poor in society.

What do you think of the documentary? Have your say in the comments section below.