Conversations with a Killer: Jeffrey Dahmer Season 1 Review – Was Jeffrey Dahmer insane or just plain evil?

Season 1

Episode Guide

Sympathy for the Devil
Can I Take Your Picture?
Evil or Insane?


The recent Netflix series Dahmer has absolutely exploded in popularity. People around the world have been tuning in, shocked and absorbed in equal measure. While a lot of critics have blasted the series, there are plenty of others who have become absolutely gripped by this story.

So it makes sense then for Netflix to continue its popular “Conversations with a Killer” series by focusing on Jeffrey Dahmer.

For those unaware, Dahmer was an American serial killer and sex offender, who dismembered and murdered seventeen men and boys between 1978 and 1991. A lot of his later victims included necrophilia, cannibalism and preservation of body parts. There’s also some pretty gnarly descriptions of using acid too.

It’s a bloodcurdling case and this three-part docu-series breaks all of this down through a series of tapes.

These tapes, recorded by Attorney Wendy Patrickus, take place from July to October 1991 and record Jeffrey Dahmer himself talking about everything he did, quite openly.

Ultimately, the aim here is to try and determine whether Jeffrey Dahmer is insane or not – and what drove him to act the way that he did. Throughout the series we hear how “remorseful” he is over his actions, although whether this is genuine or another act could be another subject of debate unto itself.

For those who have watched the other “Conversations with a Killer” documentaries, Jeffrey Dahmer’s presentation follows the same formula. There are talking head interviews with various officials and experts in the field, around actual footage of Dahmer taking in prison about his experience through the years.

There are a number of archival photos used too, along with re-enacted footage to flesh out the aforementioned audio tapes.

All of this is edited together nicely with a consistent timeline that breaks down Dahmer’s family life, leading through each of the murders, whilst all the while trying to determine whether Dahmer is medically ill (ie: insane) or just plain evil.

There are details here that certainly stand out, especially the 9 year period Dahmer went without killing, which is shown in episode 1. The second murder however, is ultimately the turning point and from here, episode 2 hones in on the 80’s and Dahmer’s string of murders, before the third sees Dahmer’s eventual arrest, but not before more shocking reveals and Dahmer’s changing method of killing.

What’s particularly concerning here is the lax police methods used with Dahmer on several different occasions. However, the show has a clever way of putting forth an argument from both sides of the conflict, giving this a very balanced perspective overall.

Whether as a companion piece to the Netflix series Dahmer or a stand-alone true crime documentary piece, Conversations with a Killer produces another absolutely gripping series that’s well worth a watch.

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  • Verdict - 8/10

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