A Descent into Madness – The Sons of Sam Review

‘The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness’. /Netflix. 


As The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness recounts the horrifying story behind serial killer David Berkowitz, alias “Son of Sam”, who terrorized New York during the 70s, it tells another story of an investigative journalist’s determination to uncover the truth of these murders that leads him down a rabbit hole of obsession.


During the mid 70s, New York was in shambles and in terror as multiple, unseemingly connected shootings began to happen. The limited series was able to paint the picture for viewers well by implementing different videos and pictures as B-roll while the narration and interviews are being played.


Using actual visuals along with first account stories, it allowed for viewers to see a real, raw glimpse of the terror that the citizens of New York felt during what would be known as the .44 killings once police found the connection. 


As viewers, we begin the limited series knowing a little bit of what it entails. Good use of dramatic irony is vital to keep us intrigued. As the first episode progressed, I began to feel anxious as the suspense creeped in waiting for all the pieces to fall into place and uncovering who was the “Son of Sam”. 


Director, Joshua Zenman, excellent storytelling delivered the suspense needed to introduce the main story being told; investigative journalist Maury Terry’s investigation turned obsession to prove his theory.


Maury Terry believed that Berkowitz, the self proclaimed “Son of Sam” did not work alone and was somehow connected to a satanic cult, and he was going to prove it. 


With using the first episode to build up to Terry’s relevance to this story of a serial killer, it gets the viewer to excited. I found myself nodding along, for more information and asking myself, “If the first episode explains the events in which David Berkowitz got caught, what do the three remaining episodes entail?”


As attention grabbing as the first episode, the next 3 did not disappoint. One of the best things the Netflix limited series did was slowly how Terry’s seeming curiosity to follow a lead becomes his obsessive downfall. 


As the media jumped on any moment to cover the “Son of Sam” killer and the NYPD was happy to receive promotions for catching the infamous killer, Maury Terry was far from convinced that the case was over.


A Descent into Darkness gives insight on how Maury Terry was able to piece evidence together that the police seemed to miss or in fact completely disregard. Viewers get to see a man do more for a case than the actual police did.


Yet with all the pieces of evidence that Terry came up from drawing connections of odd nicknames used in a letter from David Berokowitz to taunt the police to discovering that David Berkowitz was a part of satanic cult.


While the show glorifies the idea that a simple man who used to write articles for IBM, did more work uncovering the truth about “Son of Sam” than the actual police, it also shows the darkness Terry enveloped himself which sent him into a downward spiral. 


“Maury,  the public will never, ever truly believe you no matter how well your evidence is presented.” The chilling words David Berkowitz told Maury were sadly true. With all of Terry’s hard work, it seemed like it was for nothing. No one truly listened. 

While other true crime shows focus on how these crimes were solved and brought to justice, Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness shines another light on what crime brings besides tragedy and a demand for justice. It brought light to the idea that justice isn’t always served. For how could justice be served if the case was never truly solved? Maury Terry’s investigation for the actual truth of the “Son of Sam” case remains unsolved.