Acclaimed all-star television mogul Ryan Murphy is adding to his true crime catalogue with a new limited series coming to Netflix, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. Murphy’s longtime creative partner Ian Brennan co-created the series, with Carl Franklin (Mindhunter) set to direct and Janet Mock (Pose) set to write and direct. Deadline was first to report the story.
Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins (Kajillionaire) is set to play Lionel Dahmer, the killer’s father. The team is still casting Dahmer himself, as well as the female lead role of Glenda Cleveland, a neighbor of Dahmer’s who contacted the police several times over the years about Dahmer’s behavior, only to be ignored.
Unlike previous depictions of the Dahmer story, this one will focus on the point of view of the killer’s victims and the people around him. Dahmer was a serial killer who brutally raped and murdered at least 17 men, most of whom were Black. The series will also focus on the police apathy and incompetence, as well as Dahmer’s whiteness and clean-cut appearance, that helped enable his murders to go unchecked for nearly 15 years. The series will be 10 episodes long and span the ‘60s, ‘70’s 80’s and the early ‘90s when Dahmer was finally arrested.
Many times throughout those years, Dahmer was reported to police or even charged with smaller crimes and was still allowed to live his life and commit murders of young boys unchecked. Monster is expected to dramatize at least 10 of these instances and dive into how it was that he kept on avoiding arrest.
In one instance, Dahmer’s neighbor Cleveland contacted police after a 14 year old victim was seen running from Dahmer’s house, but because Cleveland was Black and Dahmer was white, he was able to convince police that the boy was an adult partner of his. She tried contacting the police multiple other times, and still Dahmer’s killing spree was allowed to continue.
Along with Murphy and Brennan, Mock and Franklin are also executive producers on the project, which is a part of both Murphy’s and Mock’s overall deals with Netflix. Mock’s deal is the first for a Black trans woman with a major studio. Previously, she worked as a writer and co-executive producer on Pose, and executive produced and directed Netflix's Hollywood. Production of Monster is expected to begin in January.
It comes in a string of announcements and premieres of Murphy-led projects which recently have included Boys In the Band and Ratched. The Prom, Murphy's film adaptation of the Broadway production of the same name, is expected out in December.