Netflix's "Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez" Review

The documentary series Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez was released this month on Netflix. It is a three-part series that details the events that lead to Aaron Hernandez’s suicide. 

In (VERY) short summary, Aaron Hernandez was born in Bristol, Connecticut and was basically bred to be a football player. When he was 16 years old his father died, and according to the series, many say he was never the same. He decided to go to the University of Florida to play football instead of his original plan of the University of Connecticut and got into some trouble at school. He was drafted much later than expected to the New England Patriots in 2010, playing with them until he was arrested in June of 2013 for the murder of Odin Lloyd. He was released by the Patriots and then was indicted for a double homicide charge from 2012, of which he was acquitted. Days after this he was found dead in his cell, and it was ruled a suicide.

Things we liked

  • This story is ridiculous in every sense of the word. One good thing about this docu-series is that it makes the story known on a larger scale. I knew about Aaron Hernandez prior to watching this, but I had no idea of the specifics of this story (which is what makes it so CRAZY). It’s also important because it is critical of the NFL, such a large, seemingly untouchable organization. It talks about the actual hell that these men are put through for our entertainment, and the long term effects of the game.

  • We also get to learn much more about the victim, Odin Lloyd, and his background. During Hernandez’s case, all the news and media outlets had mostly covered Hernandez and the future for the Patriots, Lloyd was mostly glossed over as the victim. Also, it was important that this docu-series introduced Odin Lloyd’s mother who settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Hernandez and helped end the “abatement ab initio” doctrine of the state. Hernandez had applied for an appeal, but after the athlete committed suicide in 2017, his conviction was vacated by a judge. The state of Massachusetts ended the doctrine of “abatement ab initio”, stating that “the death of a defendant who is appealing a criminal conviction, vacates the conviction”.

Critiques

Image Courtesy of Star Tribune

  • Another thing that was stigmatized throughout the series were his tattoos. While it was valid that they mentioned his tattoo for the second murder case, in the first two episodes I thought it was a little much. Many people expressed that they feel he began to change as a person in college, which was often verbally associated with getting his tattoos. It was as if because he was getting tattoos, that meant he was becoming a bad person. Tattoos are already stigmatized to the point where people judge those with them no matter the meaning, so pushing this point was just perpetuating this stereotype. To me, this seemed like overkill, and I could have done without the consistent association altogether.

Image Courtesy of AS

  • I was really taken aback by the fact that the docu-series didn’t dwell on the fact that Hernandez had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated head injuries and causes problems in behavior, mood, and thinking. CTE symptoms typically don’t begin until years after injuries, and often gets worse over time, resulting in dementia. Hernandez had suffered so much significant brain trauma that researchers discovered stage 3 CTE, “which had never been seen a brain younger than 46 years old”. I thought that the discoveries researchers made about Hernandez’s brain would create some insight into his actions and the dangers of the NFL. 

    Image Courtesy of The Guardian

  • Another thing that I thought was strange about the entire docu-series was how much it focused on Hernandez’s sexuality and how it could have been a motive for murder and suicide. I thought it shouldn't have been such a major part of the entire docu-series, especially since Hernandez never stated he was bisexual or gay. Also, the entire story about his sexuality only stemmed from one person, his childhood friend Dennis SanSoucie, who seemed to be an unreliable source. I also thought it was extremely disrespectful to his fiancee and daughter, calling them both a “beard” for Aaron Hernandez when we don’t know the full story. 

 

Image Courtesy of WikiMedia

In conclusion, we give this docu-series a 2.5/5. Even though we had a lot of issues with the documentary, it is an important story and one that many people should be aware of. There were so many factors that could have affected Aaron Hernandez’s actions and how he behaved, but we won’t ever truly know why he did the things he did. For those who have already seen this docu-series, agreed with a few of our points, and still want to learn more, there is a podcast called Gladiator by the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team. The podcast takes an in-depth look at Hernandez’s life and how it spiraled out of control. 

Also, if you do end up watching, then keep a lookout for this amazing human, Mike Massey. He is the true star of the series.

Image Courtesy of Netflix