The chilling true story behind Hulu’s Boston Strangler film


Carrie Coon and Keira Knightley in the Boston Strangler credit – Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

In the wake of a string of popular true crime adaptations ranging from HBO’s The stairs to Netflix Dahmer – Monsters: The Story of Jeffrey Dahmer comes Hulu’s new Boston strangler Movie, from March 17th

Written and directed by Matt Ruskin (crown heights), Boston strangler tells the story of 13 women who were murdered in and around Boston in the early 1960s, sometimes referred to as “Silk Stocking Murders”, from the perspective of two journalists, Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley) and Jean Cole (Carrie Coon).

As an investigative reporter for the Record American (a predecessor of Boston Herald) McLaughlin and Cole faced sexism and pressure to drop the story both from their own editorial staff and from a skeptical and uncooperative police force as they attempted to uncover the truth and bring justice to the women who were killed — much like in the movie.

Thirty years after the first series of murders, McLaughlin wrote a story for the Boston globe about what prompted her to cover the case, explaining how it was the fourth murder in the summer of 1962 that “electrified” her attention. “One editor disputed the value of a series about the four dead women, stating that they were ‘nobody,'” she wrote. “That’s exactly what it was, I felt. Why would anyone murder four obscure women. That’s what made them so interesting…sisters in anonymity, like all of us.”

What role did McLaughlin and Cole play in the case?

Over the nearly two years that killed the 13 victims, ranging in age from 19 to 85, McLaughlin and Cole led the prosecution with the theory that the gruesome killings were the work of a single assailant, who they dubbed the “Boston strangers”. That was almost a decade before the term “serial killer” was coined.

The first six murders, all of elderly single women who seemed willing to allow the killer entry into their homes, took place in the summer of 1962. Then there was a month-long lull in the killing spree until 20-year-old Sophie Clark was found strangled to death in her apartment in December. The next six victims, murdered between December 1962 and January 1964, were between the ages of 19 and 69. The majority were sexually abused before being strangled.

McLaughlin and Cole began publishing a series of investigative reports into the murders in January 1963, the first story bearing the newspaper’s questionably chosen headline: “Two reporters analyze Strangler.” This launched a month-long series of nearly 30 articles on the killings Smithsonian Magazine. At this point, McLaughlin and Cole faced significant opposition from authorities, who felt that the level of detail in their reporting did not further the investigation and might encourage copycat crimes.

Keira Knightley in „Boston Strangler“<span class="Urheberrechte ©">Courtesy of Hulu</span>” data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTQ5Mg–/>.cbf0911″<noscript><img alt=Courtesy of Hulu” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTQ5Mg–/”class” -img”/>

Keira Knightley in Boston StranglerCourtesy of Hulu

How exactly Boston strangler portrays McLaughlin and Cole, Ruskin said colliders that while parts of the film are dramatized, he did his best to create a lifelike portrayal of the two women.

“I developed a personal relationship with Loretta and [Jean’s] Children. I got to know their families very well and it was very important to me to get the story right,” he said. “So I wanted to convey the spirit of these women as truthfully as possible. However, when trying to tell a multi-year story in a feature film, you obviously have to take some liberties.”

Who was the Boston Strangler?

In October 1964, 34-year-old Albert DeSalvo (played by David Dastmalchian) was arrested for sexually assaulting a woman after posing as a police officer to gain entry to her home. When his photo was published in the newspapers, several other women came forward and said he had committed similar attacks against them, a series of attacks that became known as the “Green Man” crimes.

DeSalvo was sent to Bridgewater State Hospital, a state facility for the criminally insane, and there he allegedly confessed to his cellmate, George Nassar (played by Greg Vrotos), that he was responsible for the murders related to the Boston Strangler case. Nassar leaked the confession to his attorney, famed defense attorney F. Lee Bailey (played by Luke Kirby), who took DeSalvo on as a client when he became the prime suspect in the case.

Continue reading: Keira Knightley investigates a serial killer in Tense, Absorbing Boston strangler

Even with DeSalvo’s own confession, there was insufficient evidence to charge him with the Boston Strangler murders. In 1967 he was tried in connection with the “Green Man” crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment for armed robbery and sexual assault. DeSalvo recanted his confession in prison in 1973, just before he was stabbed to death by a fellow inmate.

Some have suggested that Nassar, who is serving a life sentence on a separate murder conviction, is a more likely suspect than DeSalvo, training him to confess with the promise that his family would be financially supported. In conversation with WBZ TV in 2018, Nassar denied taking part in the murders and claimed he told Bailey to take over DeSalvo’s case. “We set everything up and said, Al, you’re going to confess, you’re going to go to court, you’re going to do your book, we’re going to take care of your family, and he said ok, ok, okay,” he said.

Boston strangler posits that another likely suspect was Daniel Marsh (played by Ryan Winkles), a pseudonym the film gave to a former Harvard student who was also one of DeSalvo’s fellow inmates at Bridgewater and had once dated one of the victims. In the years that followed, Marsh moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where a series of similar murders later took place.

Forty years after DeSalvo’s death, a 2013 DNA analysis eventually linked him to the murder of Mary Sullivan, the last and youngest of the victims linked to the Boston Strangler case. The question of whether DeSalvo committed the other 12 murders remains unanswered.

At the time of the positive DNA identification in 2013, the new York Just quoted Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley as saying DeSalvo’s confession was “a subject of skepticism and controversy almost from the moment it was given”.

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