As you should all know by now, I’m a serial killer buff who has read every book by Mindhunter authors John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, so I know my way around the territory pretty well, and the name Samuel Little has appeared in a number of them. He is considered the most prolific serial killer in American history, having taken 93 lives over the course of four decades.
Little is now the subject of Confronting a Serial Killer, a new docuseries from Emmy-winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger that will be released on Starz, which unveiled a trailer for the show below. Berlinger is the celebrated co-director of the acclaimed Paradise Lost trilogy, and he has continued to make a career out of exploring these kinds of dark stories, most recently with Netflix‘s The Ted Bundy Tapes, Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. and Murder Among the Mormons.
Berlinger‘s latest five-episode series follows bestselling author/memoirist Jillian Lauren (Some Girls: My Life in a Harem) as she strikes up a relationship with Little in an effort to identify all of his victims — many of whom were nameless to and forgotten by the police — before it’s too late. Lauren supposedly uncovers Little’s darkest secrets and aids law enforcement in solving a multitude of cold case murders while struggling to reconcile her own history of addiction and abuse with her crusade for justice. As Lauren slips deeper into Little‘s sordid world, she realizes that she may become, psychologically, his last victim.
Confronting a Serial Killer combines Lauren‘s perspective with that of several female members of law enforcement, as well as multiple investigators, survivors and victims’ family members to shine a light on systemic issues within the criminal justice system, including bias against marginalized communities — particularly women of color — and those struggling with addiction, mental illness and trauma.
In addition to directing the docuseries, Berlinger also executive produced alongside showrunner Po Kutchins (The Murder of Laci Peterson), as well as Jon Doran and Jon Kamen. Confronting a Serial Killer is a SXSW festival selection that was produced by Lionsgate Television, Third Eye Motion Picture Company and RadicalMedia, while Alice Dickens-Koblin oversaw the project on behalf of Starz and Lionsgate.
While Little was certainly not unique in his crimes, he was unique in that Black serial killers are fairly rare, particularly ones operating as far back as the ’70s. That may explain why he went undetected for so long by police, though he also sought out the type of victims who would go overlooked by the authorities. The man was an absolute monster, and hopefully, Berlinger and Lauren can help bring some kind of peace to his victims and their families. I haven’t been a fan of Berlinger‘s recent crime series (Filthy Rich was the best of the bunch) but I know he’s capable of doing great work, as Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills is one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen. We’ll find out how Confronting a Serial Killer measures up when it premieres on Sunday, April 18 at 9 p.m. across all Starz platforms. For now, check out the trailer below.