Netflix’s ‘I Am A Killer’ Returns For A Satisfying Third Season

What makes a killer? When you try to imagine someone who has taken someone else’s life, what kind of person comes to mind? Are they ruthless and cold, or are they repentant and misunderstood? These are the questions that Netflix’s “I Am a Killer” invites in its third season.

With its first season airing in 2018, “I Am a Killer” takes a no-nonsense approach to covering the beloved true crime genre. The documentary features interviews with prisoners serving time on death row and in maximum security prisons. Inmates share information about themselves and their accounts of the murders for which they were convicted. “I Am a Killer” combines these accounts with interviews with the families of the inmates, the families of the victims, law enforcement involved in the case, and background information such as crime scene shots and 911 calls. season features six such cases. While nothing in the documentary is explicitly graphic, the straightforward accounts of the inmates’ backgrounds and the crimes they committed make for a harrowing watch.

While “I Am a Killer” allows convicted inmates to talk about their crimes, it does not absolve them of their crimes. Instead, the evidence presented is meant to provoke reflection in viewers. Depending on the circumstances of the case, each episode opens with a different statistic about crime in the United States. The first episode of season three, “A Question of Loyalty,” opens with the statistic that while 8,000 people are convicted of murder each year in the United States, less than half actually confess to their crime. The second episode, “Somebody Else,” tells us that of the more than 135,000 people incarcerated for murder in the United States, more than 25% have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Statistics like these, along with the many different accounts presented in the documentary, make viewers think hard about the reality of our justice system. How many inmates in maximum security prisons really deserve to be there? Even though we hear Victoria Smith, the recluse featured in episode one, say, “I just killed my husband,” can we believe that to be the truth? On the other hand, interviews with the loved ones of the victims and the detectives involved in the case paint a truly harrowing portrait of families suddenly torn apart by violent crimes. In any case, regardless of the inmate’s story, “I am a murderer” tells us that the consequence of his actions is always the same: the death of a human being.

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