I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: The true story behind HBO’s new true-crime documentary and the Golden State Killer

Six-part series is based on Michelle McNamara’s book of the same name

Clémence Michallon
New York City
Friday 26 June 2020 20:04 BST
I'll Be Gone In the Dark: Official Trailer

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, a new documentary series coming to HBO, focuses on the real-life case of the Golden State Killer – and true-crime author Michelle McNamara’s work to bring to light the elusive criminal.

The six-part series will be released starting 28 June, with the final episode airing on 2 August.

It is based on McNamara’s book: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, which was released posthumously in February 2018.

Here is what you need to know about the real-life case, as well as McNamara’s book, ahead of the documentary’s release:

The Golden State Killer terrorised California in the Seventies and Eighties

More than 50 rapes and at least 13 murders have been attributed to the Golden State Killer across California.

The serial killer, also referred to as the East Area Rapist, was known to target victims (aged 13 to 44) in their sleep during home invasions in suburban areas where residents generally felt safe.

A suspect has been arrested

In April 2018, authorities arrested former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo, then 72, on suspicions that he is the Golden State Killer.

By August that year, DeAngelo faced 13 rape-related charges (filed as kidnapping charges due to statutes of limitations issues) and 13 counts of murder.

DeAngelo is expected to plead guilty to dozens of crimes in a plea to avoid the death penalty during a hearing on 29 August, The Associated Press reported earlier this month citing a law enforcement source and a victim’s relative.

McNamara died before the suspect was identified

McNamara, who dedicated years of her life to investigating the case, died in April 2016 of an accidental overdose and an undiagnosed heart condition.

She was in the process of writing her book about the Golden State Killer at the time.

Her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt, helped finish it, and he also appears in HBO’s documentary.

He can be heard in a trailer released by HBO recounting how McNamara looked at the case like a puzzle she was trying to put together, while “trying to make sense of violence”.

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