Survival Update

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Forget What You Think You Know About Serial Killers!

A new series on Discovery+ debunks a lot of the myths and misconceptions that “True Crime” aficionados think that they know about serial killers.

The new series — Unraveled: Once A Killer  — explores the differences between “one and done” murderers who just kill a single time and those that escalate into serial killers, such as Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy. What the show’s producers discovered may surprise even the most die-hard true crime and horror movie fans, who think they know what makes a serial killer. 

Speaking to Cinema Blend, here’s what Alexis Linkletter, who is the executive producer, had to say about one of the biggest misconceptions people have about serial killers.

“I think one of the big misconceptions that have kind of been debunked over the last five years or so is that killers all fit this classic sort of pattern of escalation and that once they begin, they can’t stop. That’s what everybody says about serial killers up until BTK was identified. And obviously, there was, I think, a decade where he didn’t kill. And we saw with the Golden State Killer that he was able to stop, no problem. I think these classic rules that have kind of been etched into the books about killers by profilers, we’re seeing more and more so that they don’t apply in every case.”

What makes that sort of frightening is that it means that more than we realize, instead of going on unhinged killing sprees and eventually getting caught as the bodies mount, most killers kill a single time and slip back into their ordinary lives just waiting to kill again – or not. 

However, whereas in the past, such “one and done killers” often got away with their crimes, the producers also point out that thanks to criminal profiling techniques and CSI procedures that have evolved over the years, more of these types of single killers are being brought to justice using DNA and other kinds of sophisticated evidence.

The five-part podcast Unraveled: Once A Killer is currently available, and the two-hour companion documentary is now streaming on Discovery+. On each, Alexis Linkletter and Billy Jensen investigate the most elusive criminal to ever strike – the “one and done killer.” These mysterious offenders commit murder without sufficient evidence, never kill again, and disappear back into society for decades, often leaving detectives and criminal profilers with an unsolvable case. 

Billy and Alexis embark on an investigation into the use of new genetic genealogy that will finally help solve the formerly unsolvable, but the question remains whether we, as a society, are ready for this technology.