April 7, 2021 | 2:00pm ET
Netflix has a new docuseries on the way called The Sons of Sam: Descent Into Darkness, and today they’re sharing its first official trailer.
The show examines the theory that the infamous Son of Sam killer David Berkowitz didn’t act alone in his string of New York City murders in the 1970s. Directed by filmmaker Joshua Zeman (Cropsey, The Station Agent), the project investigates the work of journalist Maury Terry, who spent years trying to prove that Berkowitz wasn’t the only killer.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Zeman said that the idea for this series first came to him while he was making his 2009 documentary Cropsey, which was about a child-snatching “urban legend” in Staten Island. Some of the material Zeman was working with was connected to the Son of Sam case, and he soon realized that he had a whole other documentary on his hands.
“Originally, I thought the rumors were nothing more than Satanic Panic, but that’s when two NYPD detectives sat me down to tell me a story,” Zeman told Rolling Stone. “They said there was far more to the Son of Sam case than the public knew. They told me to read Maury Terry’s book Ultimate Evil — which both fascinated and scared the shit out of me.”
“Eventually, I sat down with Maury and put his theories to the test,” he continued. “Much to my surprise, I found myself seriously considering the unimaginable — that Berkowitz didn’t act alone, and that there were other Sons of Sam out there.”
Terry was obsessed with proving his theory about the killings up until his death in 2015, and Zeman said that he was wary of facing the same fate as he became engrossed in this docuseries. “I knew that could easily be me in 40 years, but also as much as I tried to fight it, I couldn’t help myself — I was hooked,” he told Rolling Stone.
He continued, “Even today, it’s hard not to keep thinking maybe this last email or news article will be the clue that breaks the case. That’s also why this is a cautionary tale, not just for the world, but for me specifically.”
He said he wanted to use this series to challenge the accepted theory — which led to the arrest and conviction of David Berkowitz, but no one else — and illuminate the many hands of power that led to the lone killer narrative, allegedly at the expense of other evidence.
“Examining the case with a more skeptical eye, you can literally see how the police, the press and even the public all had a hand in creating this lone gunman mythology,” Zeman said. ” Of course, you understand why it happened because this was such an incredible time in New York City, but you can also see these holes in the investigation start to appear, where bad decisions are being made and evidence is being missed, to the point that it’s shocking.
“And that’s what Maury was up against — and why despite all the evidence he had, he couldn’t convince the public of a different narrative,” he added He just couldn’t change history — until now.”
Check out the full trailer for The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness, which features loads of archival footage and brand new interviews with experts who are skeptical that Berkowitz was the only killer. The series premieres on Netflix on May 5th.