Chillin with Jillian
Confronting a Serial Killer (2021): 7 out of 10: Author Jillian Lauren develops a relationship with suspected serial killer Samuel Little. He comes clean to her and eventually confesses to ninety-three murders.
The first four episodes are a mixture of a well-done crime doc investigating one or more of Samuel Little murder victims mixed with author/investigators Jillian Lauren’s personal life and how talking daily to a psychopath has affected her.
The last episode is a bit of a train wreck focusing heavily on Jillian and a ridiculously padded hunt for the identity of one of Sam’s victims. All episodes but the last one were scored 7 out of 10 with the last one getting a 3 out of 10.
Overall, I recommend Confronting a Serial Killer as it is an amazing tale of how a well-known criminal who was constantly arrested for rape and murder got away with his crimes over the decades.
The first episode is fascinating and ends on a cliffhanger. Alas, a lot of the problems with the series are, upon reflection, very visible here. Like Sam Little’s killing spree, this only gets worse. Still an entertaining first episode of a story that one would have to work very hard to screw up.
Sam is a predator and has a talent to find people that are the weak link. He looks for people that are lonely that need a drink or a fix. He is true evil. This episode manages to highlight this despite a few hiccups. The remaining episodes were not so lucky.
The rest of the episode is straightforward, focusing on the LA trial for the murder of the three women. Jillian talks to the victims’ family members, law enforcement and prosecutors. Confronting a Serial Killer also shows clips from the trial with Sam being his defiant self. It is pedestrian stuff but refreshingly so after a wild first half.
There is a bit at the end with Jillian’s adopted children and her husband, Scott Shriner. The focus is on the effect of Jillian working daily with a sociopath is having on thier lives. Confronting a Serial Killer earns it. But like any good horror movie, it foreshadows what is to come. And as I have been hinting for three reviews now, what is coming is not pretty. Time to get my rant hat back from the cleaners.
Confronting a Serial Killer gives us another fairly solid episode. Yes, Jillian cries on camera and seems even more self-involved. And the last twenty minutes of Jillian and Rick touring LA strip malls seems a little like padding. But the investigation in Louisiana is very solid. My rant hat is back from the cleaners, but I didn’t need it today. One more episode to go.
In conclusion: This is a train wreck. The carelessness of this episode really makes me believe that the direction and editing are unrelated to the other four. Confronting a Serial Killer was always flirting with disaster from Jillian’s occasional overacting, unsolicited deep thoughts, and self promotion. But that was always balanced with a well done straightforward crime documentary. Well, the crime documentary is mostly awol, and we are left with nothing but narcissism, self congratulations, and tone deafness.