Lately, we might have been turning to Netflix for its chilling thrillers (Deadly Illusions, anyone?), but we’ve long been fascinated by the streaming giant’s captivating true-crime docuseries that explore the terrifying cases of the world’s most horrific crimes. The latest offering, The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness is re-examining the life of serial killer David Berkowitz, who went on a killing spree in New York City in the 1970s.
Berkowitz, who received six life sentences after being convicted of the Son of Sam shootings, was later investigated by journalist Maury Terry, who made it his life mission to get the real story behind the mysterious case—which is exactly what Netflix deep dives into in its latest docuseries, examining if Berkowitz was the only culprit or if there was a darker truth hidden underneath.
Intrigued? Read on for everything we know about Netflix’s The Sons of Sam.
What Were The Son Of Sam Shootings?
From 1976 to 1977, a mysterious killer began shooting randomly across New York City with a .44-caliber revolver, resulting in six deaths and seven wounded before the NYPD captured and charged Berkowitz. It was the anonymous letters the shooter would taunt media and police with that sparked the nickname Son of Sam, which is what each letter was signed off with.
While Berkowitz was convicted for the crimes, investigative journalist Maury Terry was convinced he didn’t act alone and would later spend decades attempting to prove the real story behind the murders.
What Is Netflix’s Sons Of Sam About?
Netflix’s docuseries, The Sons of Sam, explores the story behind the notorious serial killer.
“While the arrest and conviction of David Berkowitz brought the nightmare to an end for many New Yorkers, for journalist and Ultimate Evil author Maury Terry, the real mystery was just beginning,” its official synopsis reads. “Terry, convinced Berkowitz had not acted alone, would go on to spend decades attempting to prove that the web of darkness behind the murders went deeper than anyone imagined—and his pursuit of that elusive truth would eventually cost him everything.”
Filmmaker Joshua Zeman is behind the four-part series, which uses archival news footage, conversations with people involved in the original investigation and Terry’s own words and case files to tell the story of a man obsessed, ultimately, entering a rabbit hole he “never came out” of. Zeman asks the question: did Berkowitz act alone or were there others involved that still roam free?
Why Was Maury Terry Convinced Berkowitz Didn’t Act Alone?
Despite Berkowitz confessing to all the murders and pleading guilty, claiming his neighbour Sam Carr’s dog (who he says was possessed) ordered him to kill, Maury Terry wasn’t convinced he acted alone. Terry noticed inconsistencies in Berkowitz’s story, namely that he didn’t match the “tall and blonde” description many Son of Sam survivors provided police, and for years, Terry investigated John and Michael Carr, who were literally Sons of Sam—being the sons of Berkowitz’s neighbour Sam.
For years, Terry would speak to Berkowitz in an attempt to learn the truth with revealing information providing yet more inconsistencies. In one such interview, Berkowitz shared details about a satanic group he joined prior to the shootings, alleging John and Michael Carr were his accomplices.
Watch the Sons of Sam trailer below.
Who Were John And Michael Carr?
Throughout his investigation, Terry would become convinced that Berkowitz’s accomplices were John and Michael Carr, the sons of his neighbour Sam Carr. Besides the pair being literally sons of Sam, Berkowitz would tell Terry that he was directed to kill by Sam’s dog, who was possessed by a demonic entity.
The Carr brothers died in the years following Berkowitz’s arrest in 1977. John was shot in the head in North Dakota, later found in his girlfriend’s apartment, while Michael died in a car accident in Manhattan.
Where Are David Berkowitz And Maury Terry Now?
Following the 1977 arrest of Berkowitz, Terry spent the rest of his career committed to uncovering the truth and documenting his findings in his book, The Ultimate Evil. In 2015, he passed away from heart failure at the age of 69.
As for Berkowitz he is still serving out his prison sentence and has become a spiritual advisor and mentor to fellow inmates. “I don’t deserve anything, any goodness from the Lord,” he told the WORLD in 2020. “But I’m telling you, God has delivered me.”
The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness is currently available to stream on Netflix.