The Keepers—Season 1

the keepers season 1 poster netflix
8.5 Overall Score

Good solid whodunit mystery, a talker

A concern of tunnel vision by the investigators that could cause other evidence to be missed

the keepers season 1 title card episode guide netflix

Who killed Sister Cathy?

Sister Cathy Cesnik disappeared after heading out for shopping on the night of November 7, 1969.  Her car appeared back near her home and her body was found almost two months later in a wooded area.  With no one ever held accountable for the murder, Abbie Schaub and Gemma Hoskins who were students of Cathy seek to learn the truth.  Teamed with a journalist named Tom Nugent and others who knew and loved Cathy, Gemma and Abbie researched what could have happened to Cathy…and if a priest named Joseph Maskell with accusations of sexual abuse at their own school could have led to the murder.

The Keepers—Season 1 is a Netflix documentary criminal investigation released on May 19, 2017.  The series was released to critical acclaim and quickly gained an audience.

the keepers season 1 episode 1 the murder sister cathy cesnik crime scene photos

The crime scene

With Serial, people were shown that investigative reporting into high stakes crime and murder investigations.  Making a Murderer showed people that Netflix could pull off a similar crime investigation by devoting time to it.  The Keepers has some similarities to both investigations.

Baltimore has always had a bad reputation for crime.  A murder in Baltimore is not a surprise, but the combination of a murder and how it could tie to the church is unusual.  Spotlight brought the story of the Boston Globe’s look into the cover-up of child abuse in the church and the cover-up.  The path of the investigation weaves and bobs and sometimes takes some wrong turns.  The similar murder near Cathy’s home, Father Magnus, and the mysterious Brother Bob all seem to get left behind in the tell.  It is a compelling story but it does have its own problems.

the keepers season 1 abbie schaub gemma hoskins

The detectives

Watching The Keepers has me a bit worried for the investigation.  Almost all parties seem bent on tying it to Joseph Maskell who seems like a true criminal and guy who never had to pay for his horrendous crimes (though it must also be stipulated that he was never found guilty of them…but it was more due to collusion involving the Catholic church and police it appears as presented by the documentary).  The problem is that I think that the investigators feel so desperate to tie it to him, and tunnel vision might make them miss obvious ties.  When they find a suspect they wonder how they could be tied to Maskell instead of questioning if the killer could have acted independently.  Jane Doe may have seen the body of Cathy…but in a highly Catholic neighborhood where confessions are way of life, it is possible that Maskell quickly found out about the crime and even the location…and simply used it as another form of mental abuse to keep his victims quiet.  Did it happen that way?  Probably not, and it may never be known.

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…and now I’m terrified of this

The documentary looks quite good and taps into all sort of methods to present the highly documented search.  It could have been a cheap, low-budget look at the crime and the cases tied to it, but the makers obviously put money into it.  It is visually compelling which helps you want to keep watching.

The biggest thing that The Keepers can do is start a conversation about abuse and spur action on the murder of Sister Cathy…regardless if they are really tied or not.  With a lot of attention on the murder, maybe new evidence will be found…or maybe missing evidence will resurface.  I don’t know if there will be a second season of The Keepers since it is pretty specific, but maybe the show will spark another search into the case and maybe they can finds the missing threads, but I do think that they also must consider that all the horrible threads might not tie together…and that is ok, if people get the justice for the abuse and the justice for the murder.  It might also give them the opportunity for perspective and outside observation to help them see where their research should focus and further explore.  Regardless, The Keepers does help ensure that it will be hard to forget and hide.

The Keepers—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

the keepers season 1 episode 1 the murder sister cathy cesnik

“The Murder”

1.1       The Murder Release Date:  05/19/17

The murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik on the night of November 7, 1969 in Baltimore has remained a mystery.  The students, acquaintances, and coworkers who knew Cathy have always wondered what happened that night.  Now years later, they’ve reopened the case…and the memories of the murder remain fresh in the minds of those affected by it.  The disappearance of a girl named Joyce Malecki has similar traits.  Spearheaded by Abbie Schaub and Gemma Hoskins, the search for the killer and justice is reawakened.

the keepers season 1 episode 2 the school father joseph maskell

“The School”

1.2       The School Release Date:  05/19/17

Tom Nugent speaks to Jane Doe aka Jean Hargadon Wehner and learns that part of her fear comes from what happened in Archbishop Keough High School.  The events occurring between Jean and Father Joseph Maskell and Father E. Neil Magnus could have had an influence on the case and the history of abuse in the school where Sister Cesnik taught.  Gerry Koob reveals his secret relationship with Cathy and the request of a mysterious conversation.  Jean reveals what she was shown.

the keepers season 1 episode 3 the revelation jane doe jean hargadon wehner

“The Revelation”

1.3       The Revelation Release Date:  05/19/17

Jean recalls why she didn’t go forward with what she saw involving Cathy and how she regained her missing memories in 1992.  Jean’s coming forward sets in a chain of events which leads to legal issues.  As the can of worms is opened on the hidden world in Archbishop Keough High School and the people begin to talk about what happened behind closed doors.  With the Jean’s accusations, Abbie Schaub, Gemma Hoskins, and Tom Nugent learn about a story of a graveyard and a source nicknamed “Deep Throat” who could hold the key.

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“The Burial”

1.4       The Burial Release Date:  05/19/17

Deep Throat comes forward with the orders of anonymity with the horror story of what happened in 1994 with the charges against Maskell.  With the location of a secret grave of documents, Deep Throat’s story contradicts the story of the former state’s attorney Sharon A.H. May.  The group begins to investigate Dr. Richter who worked with Maskell to groom girls and their families.  As the case prepares for a potential trial, the disappearance of Father Maskell causes problems as the prosecutors find themselves defending the idea of repressed memories.  When things fall apart, victims still find themselves seeking justice.  Abbie and Gemma seek the links between Jean and the killer…which leads to a man named Brother Bob.

the keepers season 1 episode 5 the suspects nun habit in attic

“The Suspects”

1.5       The Suspects Release Date:  05/19/17

Lil Hughes Knipp recalls meeting Father Maskell near his end…and knowing that he would never be charged.  The search for Brother Bob and a potential killer begins, and the revelation of a potential suspect named Edgar Davidson comes forward with an interesting story.  With more people coming forward, more suspects appear including a man named Billy Schmidt who lived in Cathy’s apartment.  A contact from one of Cathy’s sisters could give new insight on the case.

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“The Web”

1.6       The Web Release Date:  05/19/17

Edgar Davidson agrees to talk to investigators but tells a different story.  Cathy’s sister Marilyn      indicates her interest in solving the case.  Tom Nugent casts doubt on Gerry Koob’s story about the night of Cathy’s disappearance.  The search for the other man at Cathy’s apartment Pete McKeon may have information about Koob’s relationship.  What Cathy’s roommate Sister Russell knew about the abuse and Cathy’s relationship comes into question.  “Jane Doe” and “Jane Roe” meet for the first time and talk about the Keough.  Abbie investigates Baltimore’s investigation into the abuse reports they received.  Marilyn Cesnik Radakovic recalls receiving a mysterious letter from her sister after her death.

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“The Conclusion”

1.7       The Conclusion Release Date:  05/19/17

Charles Franz talks about his relationship with Father Maskell as a young student and reveals what he knows about the Church’s involvement with Maskell.  Cathy’s sister sees the necklace given by Edgar Davidson and questions if it has significance.  Potential DNA and evidence could exist for the crime, and the police might be forced to act.  A push for victims’ rights in Maryland goes to a committee but getting justice might be more difficult…and time doesn’t stand still for anyone.

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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