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My Thoughts on The Serpent: True Crime Show Review

As a fan of true crime, a well-executed series or podcast is the best find. I stumbled upon The Serpent when browsing the documentary section on Netflix, and once I started it, I had to binge the whole show. The production quality, attention to detail, and complex storyline is enough to keep everyone from the true crime novices to junkies hooked. This eight-episode series from BBC focuses on the true case of Charles Sobhraj, an infamous criminal and serial killer, who was active from 1975 to 2000.

The series follows the life of Sobhraj, who was connected to at least twelve murders of travelers in Easten countries and as many as twenty that have not yet been proven. He’s also an infamous escape artist and con man, and the series highlights the extent of his ingenius, twisted mind as he stays at least one step ahead of the investigators for decades. The scenes switch back and forth between his life and the accounts of the detective who led the investigation against him. The timeline flashes back and forth too, which can get confusing if you don’t create a timeline in your head as you watch. It’s not a background watch; you definitely need to work through the series like you’re investigating the case too, paying close attention to subtle behaviors and reading through some subtitles for the different languages they speak. This is what makes it so engaging though; anyone with a true crime fascination will have no trouble staying hooked on the storyline.

The characters of this series will pull you in, an eerie fact to recall when you realize how accurate the show is to the real case. Each episode puts you directly into the mind of different characters along Sobhraj’s trail of destruction, most notably his accomplice and lover Marie-Andree Leclerc. Not only are these characters incredibly well written and developed, but their perspectives cause you to actually feel the level of sociopathy and manipulation that Sobhraj instilled in the people in his life. You will feel his charm through his love interest, his persuasion through his accomplices, and his frustrating ability to be one step ahead through the investigators on the case.

All in all, this series on Netflix is definitely worth the watch, whether you’re a true crime superfan or just appreciate a well-made series. It tells the story of a less familiar lifetime criminal and serial killer, while shedding light on issues like manipulative relationships and traveler safety. Give yourself plenty of time and snacks when you start this, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll finish the whole series in one weekend.

Sydney is a Communication and Feminist Studies double major and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. She's a Petaluma, California native, the egg capital of the world! When she's not writing, you can find her pole dancing, playing with cats, and listening to true crime podcasts.
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