239 votes
I'll Be Gone in the Dark

I'll Be Gone in the Dark

HBO 2020

An exploration of the case of the Golden State Killer who terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s, committing 50 sexual assaults and 10 murders, and true crime author Michelle McNamara's obsessive quest to find justice on behalf of his victims.

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The 10 Best Episodes of I'll Be Gone in the Dark

I'll Be Gone in the Dark - S1E6

#1 - Walk Into the Light


Season 1 - Episode 6

As 72-year-old former police officer Joe DeAngelo's arrest unfolds in real time, chilling facts materialize that illuminate Michelle's prescience in her book's epilogue, "Letter to an Old Man." Later, when Patton Oswalt, Billy Jensen, and Paul Haynes connect with survivors and McNamara's fellow citizen detective Melanie Barbeau, Michelle's absence is deeply felt.

The episode was rated from 133 votes.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark - S1E5

#2 - Monsters Recede but Never Vanish


Season 1 - Episode 5

As Michelle's loved ones cope with her sudden death, her work to unmask the Golden State Killer lives on. Paul Holes, Chief of Forensics in Contra Costa County, reconstructs the killer's family tree with the help of genetic genealogist Barbara-Rae Venter. Meanwhile, Paul Haynes and writer Billy Jensen work alongside Michelle's husband, Patton Oswalt, to finish her book.

The episode was rated from 137 votes.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark - S1E3

#3 - Rat in a Maze


Season 1 - Episode 3

In 1979, law enforcement is thrilled when the EAR attacks abruptly stop in Northern California, but in reality, the still unknown assailant has moved south to commit a number of gruesome murders in the Santa Barbara area, known as the "Original Night Stalker" series. Michelle's article chronicling her investigation of the case causes a splash when it's published in 2013.

The episode was rated from 157 votes.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark - S1E4

#4 - The Motherlode


Season 1 - Episode 4

Michelle and her editors agree to push her book deadline after being granted access to the Orange County Sheriff's Department's East Area Rapist / Original Night Stalker (EAR/ONS) room. Overwhelmed by the amount of material and the graphic nature of the crimes, Michelle struggles to balance the demands of her self-described addiction to her work with her family life.

The episode was rated from 138 votes.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark - S1E2

#5 - Reign of Terror


Season 1 - Episode 2

Michelle reflects on the 1984 murder of her childhood neighbor Kathy Lombardo, which she credits with planting the seed for her lifelong fascination with unsolved crimes. Local detectives who worked the EAR case in the '70s - and citizen detectives who picked up where they left off - discuss a proliferation of serial rape cases in Northern California at the time.

The episode was rated from 167 votes.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark - S1E1
#6 - Murder Habit
Season 1 - Episode 1

Writer Michelle McNamara, author of True Crime Diary, her blog about unsolved crimes, finds a new obsession in the "East Area Rapist" (EAR), who terrorized California in the 1970s and '80s and was, ultimately, responsible for 50 home-invasion rapes and 12 murders. Today, her husband, friends, and colleagues reflect on Michelle's talent for bringing true crime stories to life.

The episode was rated from 203 votes.

Last updated: jul 26, 2021



It's okay. Perhaps tries to be too many things and ends up thinly spread - documentary about the killer and victims, whodunnit, biography of Michelle, extended true crime podcast advert


HBO missed the mark on this one. This was marketed as the hunt for the Golden State Killer but in reality it's a biography about Michelle McNamara that's intermixed to a frustratingly low degree with hunting a killer. The whole thing is poorly made with a lot of filler. There is a substantial amount of time in this that's just text messages on screen not to mention that they use one specific scene from The creature from the black lagoon over and over and over again. I'm not a Netflix fanboy by any means but I can't help wonder if they couldn't have made this a lot more interesting as this really is subpar.


I watched the show knowing a lot about the Golden State Killer/East Area Rapist and with the expectation that it was also about Michelle McNamara's involvement in the hunt for him and her death. I say this because it seems like many people feel it focuses too much on Michelle. I think this was more of a behind the scenes to show how the efforts of many people went into helping to find who commited these horrible crimes and the toll it took on their lives. It's exactly what I wanted the show to be. It was interesting and moving send I think we'll worth the time to watch it.


An enticing documentary series, but not put together with as much skill as I had expected. Delving into a sprawling case like this one of the most important things a documentary can do is establish a clear timeline, and this doesn't attempt to do anything of the sort. It's frustrating that we jump in somewhere in the middle and then consistently go back and forth. What it does have is a massive emotional punch. The stories being told by the survivors are heartbreaking and the tale of the author herself, Michelle McNamara, and her unexpected death really add a lot. Her role in uncovering further details about the East Area Rapist cannot be understated, and the time devoted to her was very welcome. Aesthetically, there's a bit too much "podcast"-style delivery here. A lot of voice overs, scribbled text fading in and out of the screen, images of fingers typing and reconstructed backgrounds being slightly out of focus with ominous music. This would have worked far better if they'd kept it simpler and just told to the story from beginning to end.


There is about 3 hours of compelling material here; unfortunately, it's a 6-hour series.


It's a pretty good documentary series. The story of the Golden State Killer is really interesting, and might even give you nightmares. I think they might concentrate too much time on Michelle McNamara, but it's understandable because it's based on her book and research.

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