Dahmer—Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (2022)

dahmer monster the jeffrey dahmer story poster 2022 tv series review episode guide
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Strong telling of a gruesome story

A story completely from victims' perspectives would be good

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Real life horror

On July 22, 1991, a man named Tracy Edwards (Shaun J. Brown) cried murder and accused Jeffrey Dahmer (Evan Peters) of attacking him in his apartment after a night at the bars.  The police investigation unveiled unexpected horror, and the story of a serial killer is revealed.  Through his youth and the breakup of his parents’ marriage (Richard Jenkins and Michael Learned), Dahmer showed signs of a struggle…and that struggle exploded in a series of murders that shocked the nation.

Dahmer—Monster:  The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is a Netflix true-crime horror drama.  The ten episode series is based on the life of Jeffrey Dahmer (May 21, 1960-November 28, 1994) and premiered on Netflix on September 9, 2022.

The monster of the dreams of many…

Jeffrey Dahmer like many serial killers captivated the papers and news when his crimes were revealed.  There was a lot shock due to the sheer nature of the crime, but the fact that Dahmer was gay and targeted gay people also created a sensationalism to the story following the horrors of AIDS which erupted in the 1980s.  With a lot going on, Dahmer—Monster:  The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (which has one of the clunkiest titles) has a lot of space to cover and generally succeeds in doing it.

The storytelling is stylized.  It isn’t a linear story and sometimes within each episode, non-linear events occur.  While some argue that binging has forever ruined or improved television, Dahmer is a series that benefits from binging…there are a lot of threads and characters.  The primary story (Dahmer’s story) is really told out of order and sometimes it is a little extreme…but in a tight, concise viewing, it does flow well.

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You already knew how this would end

Many stories struggle with the idea of glorifying a killer.  Dahmer seems aware of this and makes some attempts to correct this, but it still is about Jeffrey Dahmer.  Looking at his parents, his neighbor Glenda Cleveland (played by Niecy Nash), and some of his victims and their families is a good step, but it still doesn’t feel like it is enough to not be about the raising of serial killers as mythic figures.  The series’ most powerful episode “Silenced” is almost entirely from the perspective of a victim…and it feels like the whole series could have carried on in a manner like this if they wanted a truly different approach to a series like this.

I always commend these series in that they do a great job casting the series.  Evan Peters is great as killer who by every report seems to have seemed emotionless or altered even when he was sober.  Richard Jenkins is good as his distraught father who tries to determine what he did wrong while Joyce is less developed as his ex-wife played by Penelope Ann Miller (and Molly Ringwald as his second wife).  Niecy Nash plays the frustrated neighbor that was unable to get police to act, but even small roles in the series are cast decently.

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Always good to remember that this wasn’t just entertainment but real lives…real victims

The series is stylishly shot and since it technically is a period piece, the sets and set-designs are important along with the costumes and visuals.  The characters need to feel real and the world they inhabit also needs to feel real…Dahmer succeeds.

With so many true-crime series, you see how many serial killers there really are, and although “uniqueness” seems to be important to a lot of the killers, they aren’t as unique as they think.  The final part of the series involves a battle over Dahmer’s brain (it was destroyed), but the argument is what can be learned from serial killers like Dahmer about the state of mental health or about possible brain damage.  There have been advances, but the killing keeps happening, and you could argue that shows like Dahmer allow people to see the signs…but in the big picture, but do they glorify the acts at the same time?  I go back and forth on it…but the debate will rage on forever.  Dahmer—Monster:  The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is a good telling of a horrible story, and it won’t be the last.

Dahmer—Monster:  The Jeffrey Dahmer Story Complete Episode Guide:

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“Episode One”

Episode 1        Episode One Release Date:  09/21/22

Jeffrey Dahmer (Evan Peters) goes out for the evening at a club and picks up a man named Tracy Edwards (Shaun J. Brown).  When Edwards discovers that Dahmer intends to kill him, Tracy escapes…and the police find a home of horror.  Despite repeat reports by his neighbor Glenda Cleveland (Niecy Nash), Dahmer’s crimes went unnoticed, but now the truth is out.  Jeff’s father Lionel Dahmer (Richard Jenkins) and his stepmother Shari (Molly Ringwald) are in the public eye as the investigation begins.

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“Please Don’t Go”

Episode 2        Please Don’t Go Release Date:  09/21/22

Dahmer meets with the police and begins to tell his story.  Jeffrey remembers his early encounters with death and the arguments between his parents.  Following his discharge from army, Jeffrey goes to Miami to start a new life, but when that doesn’t work, Dahmer ends up back home at the home of his grandmother (Michael Learned)).  An encounter outside of a liquor store on May 26, 1991 has Jeffrey brings home a Laos boy named Konerak Sinthasomphone (Kieran Tamondong)…and Konerak’s near escape almost leads to his capture.

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“Doin’ a Dahmer”

Episode 3        Doin’ a Dahmer Release Date:  09/21/22

Jeff struggles to fit in at school as his father and mother Joyce (Penelope Ann Miller) struggle to keep their marriage together.  When Jeff picks up a hitchhiker named Steve Hicks (Cameron Cowperthwaite) on June 18, 1978, Jeff finds that his desires could lead to his breaking point…and his first kill.

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“The Good Boy Box”

Episode 4        The Good Boy Box Release Date:  09/21/22

Jeff has created his first murder, and now the barrier has been broken.  An attempt to get Jeff to succeed at Ohio State leads to a stint in the army, and Jeff gets medical training…but also kicked out.  Living with his grandmother (Michael Learned), Jeff tries to make a normal life, but Jeff is anything but normal…and the discovery of bathhouses makes his desires and fantasies easier to create.

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“Blood on Their Hands”

Episode 5        Blood On Their Hands Release Date:  09/21/22

Dahmer begins killing without restraint as he gets more and more comfortable with the act.  When Jeff takes a man named Ronald Flowers (Dyllon Burnside) home from the bar and his grandmother gets involved, Jeff comes under police scrutiny…but a second encounter puts Jeff in jail.

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Episode 6        Silenced Release Date:  09/21/22

Tony Hughes (Rodney Burford) is faced with the challenges of being a Black, gay, and deaf in 1991, but he has dreams of more.  Going to Madison, Wisconsin, Tony seeks a modeling future, but unfortunately on a trip home, he meets Jeffrey Dahmer…but Tony could be something different to Jeff.

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Episode 7        Cassandra Release Date:  09/21/22

Glenda struggles at work and the fact that no one would listen to her concerns at Jeffrey Dahmer.  Jesse Jackson (Nigel Gibbs) decides to get involved in the case due to the fact that most of Dahmer’s victims were minorities.

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Episode 8        Lionel Release Date:  09/21/22

Lionel Dahmer meets with Jeffrey in prison and tries to determine why Jeff went wrong.  Joyce finds her life turned upside down by Jeffrey’s crimes and that it is affecting her job.  Jeff’s former homes including his grandmother’s home become crime scenes.  The police that allowed Konerak to return to Dahmer’s apartment face disciplinary action.  Dahmer has his day in court.

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“The Bogeyman”

Episode 9        The Bogeyman Release Date:  09/21/22

Jeffrey Dahmer is imprisoned and finds he’s become a celebrity on the outside.  Dahmer’s victims debate a course of action and decide to go after any profit that the Dahmers might claim from their story.

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“God of Forgiveness, God of Vengeance”

Episode 10      God of Forgiveness, God of Vengeance Release Date:  09/21/22

John Wayne Gacy (Dominic Burgess) is prepared for murder in 1994 as Dahmer continues to serve life in prison.  Christopher Scarver (Furly Mac) takes an interest in Dahmer and his actions in prison as Dahmer has some spiritual questions from the prison minister Adams (Chris Greene).  Despite finding religion, it might not be enough to save Dahmer.

Related Links:

Conversations with a Killer:  The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes (2002) Review and Complete Episode Guide

My Friend Dahmer

My Friend Dahmer (2017)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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