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Starring: Keira Knightley, Carrie Coon, David Dastmalchian, Morgan Spector, Bill Camp, Chris Cooper, Alessandro Nivola,Robert John Burke, Rory Cochrane
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Hulu/Disney+ crime drama written and directed by Matt Ruskin. Based on a true story set in early 1960s, Boston Strangler (2023) follows reporter Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley), who becomes the first journalist to connect the Boston Strangler murders. As the mysterious killer claims more and more victims, Loretta attempts to continue her investigation alongside colleague and confidante Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), yet the duo finds themselves stymied by the rampant sexism of the era. Nevertheless, McLaughlin and Cole pursue the story at great personal risk, putting their own lives on the line in their quest to uncover the truth.
Loretta Mclaughlin: What are you working on?
Jean Cole: Story on patient abuse.
Loretta Mclaughlin: That sounds important. How did you get it?
Jean Cole: I asked for it.
Loretta Mclaughlin: And they just gave it to you?
Jean Cole: That’s usually how it works.
Loretta Mclaughlin: Not around here, it isn’t.
Loretta Mclaughlin: I think I found something. Three women were strangled over the last two weeks.
Jack Maclaine: I don’t see the interest. These are nobodies.
Loretta Mclaughlin: Who do you think our readers are? And that’s just it. Why would anybody go around killing three nobody women?
Jack Maclaine: And how do you plan to find that out?
Loretta Mclaughlin: Well, let me profile the victims. See if there’s any connection.
Jack Maclaine: Kid, you’re not covering a homicide.
Loretta Mclaughlin: Why not?
Jack Maclaine: Because you don’t have the experience covering homicides.
Loretta Mclaughlin: How am I supposed to get any experience if you won’t give me a shot?
Officer Dougan: I’m just a patrolman. I don’t touch the bodies.
Loretta Mclaughlin: Did it look decorative?
Officer Dougan: In a real sick kind of way. Yeah.
Loretta Mclaughlin: What do these three women have in common? Three shadowy patterns of attack. Three knotted loops that bind them together. Strangers to one another in life, they became sisters in death. Each coming to the same horror-filled moment of murder by strangulation by a killer who came quietly, who is careful in his derangement, and self-possessed enough to lock the door on his way out.
James Mclaughlin: [to Loretta, referring to her story] There’s nothing in the Globe, or the Herald. Or any of them. You beat the whole damn city. I can’t believe it. This is incredible!
Eddie Corsetti: [to Jack, referring to Loretta] She’s in way over her head. You never should’ve sent her out on this.
Jack Maclaine: Just tell me what we got wrong, and I’ll print a correction.
Commissioner McNamara: It’s barstool gossip, for Christ’s sake!
Jack Maclaine: Half the news in the city’s barstool gossip. What the hell did we get wrong?
Commissioner McNamara: Homicide has been working around the clock on this, and we’ve got nothing to connect the murders.
Commissioner McNamara: [to Jack] I’m telling you this as a friend. If you keep running this story, you’re going to end up embarrassing yourself.
'It's crazy to think your whole life can turn on a chance encounter.' - Jean Cole (Boston Strangler) Click To Tweet
Jack Maclaine: I’m killing the follow-up.
Loretta Mclaughlin: We beat everyone in the whole damn city, and you’re just going to drop it?
Jack Maclaine: Yes, I am.
Loretta Mclaughlin: So, why haven’t you asked me to stay home?
James Mclaughlin: Because I know better.
Loretta Mclaughlin: No, I’m serious. Why not?
James Mclaughlin: Because you’d be miserable.
Loretta Mclaughlin: Well, so what? Our lives would be easier. Kids would be better off.
James Mclaughlin: [to Loretta] You’d drive us all mad if you were sitting around here all day.
Loretta Mclaughlin: They just found a fourth victim.
James Mclaughlin: Go.
Eddie Holland: I need you on the Strangler story. Jack put some amateur on it.
Jean Cole: That bad, huh?
'It's like I get to do half of everything I really want, and everyone around me still feels shortchanged.' - Loretta Mclaughlin (Boston Strangler) Click To Tweet
Jack Maclaine: Jean’s going to be working with you on the Strangler story.
Loretta Mclaughlin: Oh, no offense, but I don’t need any help with this.
Jack Maclaine: It’s not up for debate.
Loretta Mclaughlin: What is she going to cover that I can’t?
Jack Maclaine: The whole story, if you keep it up.
Jean Cole: Police aren’t talking. Corsetti tried too. Never seen them this tight-lipped about anything.
Jack Maclaine: That’s because they’re bracing for a s**tstorm.
Commissioner McNamara: I don’t care if it’s one killer or four. We’re going to catch whoever did this.
Jean Cole: [referring to the photographer] You’re going to let that a**hole bother you?
Loretta Mclaughlin: You don’t mind being called a fluke? By that jacka**?
Jean Cole: Let them sell their papers. You still got the biggest story in the city.
'You can't be apologetic, not about the things that are important to you.' - Jean Cole (Boston Strangler) Click To Tweet
Loretta Mclaughlin: Five women have been strangled over the past three months. By number and by nature, these stranglings are beyond anything ever seen before in the criminal history of the city.
Dr. Grayson: The murders are clearly premeditated. All elderly, and all lived alone. It’s a pattern.
Loretta Mclaughlin: The crimes themselves are insane. He ransacks the apartments, but doesn’t take anything. He leaves his victims posed, with a bizarre air of ceremony. Each left with a decorative garrote around her neck. In every case, there is no evidence left behind. No clue as to how he selects his victims. He seems to come and go as he pleases, committing his crimes in broad daylight.
Dr. Grayson: It’s highly organized behavior. Probably escalated over time, and now he’s lost control. Barriers are down. He’ll almost certainly repeat.
Loretta Mclaughlin: There is but one answer. The Boston Phantom… The Boston Strangler must be caught.
'How do you just stop caring after all this?' - Loretta Mclaughlin, 'When you realize you could give up your whole life for it, and no one would give a s**t.' - Detective Conley (Boston Strangler) Click To Tweet
Jean Cole: I really can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s crazy to think your whole life can turn on a chance encounter.
Dr. Grayson: When these guys establish a type, it usually comes from a trauma that’s been years in the making. It doesn’t just change all of a sudden.
Loretta Mclaughlin: How sure are you?
Dr. Grayson: That’s the going theory with this type of killer. But no one really knows.
Detective Conley: These people have no idea what they’re up against.
Loretta Mclaughlin: What people?
Detective Conley: The whole department, as far as I’m concerned.
Loretta Mclaughlin: The whole police department?
Detective Conley: The usual rules don’t apply. There’s no motive, and then he takes off without leaving a shred of evidence. Guy’s as careful as he is deranged.
Reporter: The city is, for some, glamorous, stimulating, prosperous. Only recently has it become dangerous.
'Your safe little world is just a delusion. Men kill women. It didn't start with Albert. Sure as hell doesn't end with him either.' - George Nassar (Boston Strangler) Click To Tweet
Anne Samans: I just can’t stop thinking about it. What he did to her. What that must have been like for her.
Eddie Holland: What’s the story?
Loretta Mclaughlin: The city can’t protect its women.
Jack Maclaine: Come on.
Loretta Mclaughlin: What? You don’t think it’s true, or you don’t think it’s a story?
Loretta Mclaughlin: Ten women are dead, and these a**holes don’t have a clue!
Jack Maclaine: You don’t have a story. You have a grudge.
Loretta Mclaughlin: How many women have to die before it’s a story?
Eddie Holland: That’s enough. These are good men busting their a**es. I’m not waging a war on the police department.
Eddie Holland: We’re not running a hit job on the police department.
Loretta Mclaughlin: They’re blowing the investigation. How long can we keep ignoring it?