The Netflix series about Jeffrey Dahmer is currently one of the most watched series in Germany. Officially, it is based on “true facts”. But how true is the series?
A serial killer kills 17 people in no time, escapes the police multiple times and lives completely undiscovered in an apartment block until he’s caught: Netflix series “Dahmer” wants to make us believe exactly that – but can that really be true? We show real events and cinematic motifs.
Who was Jeffrey Dahmer?
Dahmer is not a fictional character. In fact, he is one of the most notorious serial killers in America. Dahmer was born in Milwaukee in 1960. As in the series, his childhood was difficult: his mother had mental problems, and his father was focused on his career and did not have time for Jeffrey. After his brother was born, his parents finally divorced, and Jeffrey responded with violence in the nearby woods.
In his youth, Dahmer discovered homosexuality and violent sexual fantasies that escalated into necrophilia. In high school, on the one hand, he became evident through alcohol and drug abuse, but on the other hand, he behaved in an exemplary manner towards adults. Among other things, he was even able to organize a tour of the office of the Vice President of the United States for his dismissal.
As in the series, his resume continues: Dahmer enrolls first at Ohio State University, but rarely attends any courses there. After he is expelled from college, his father urges him to do military training. There falls again with drugs and alcohol.
At the age of twenty, Dahmer moves to Miami Beach, but is no longer able to pay his rent there, and thus returns to his father in Ohio, and a year later to his grandmother.
Was Dahmer really exposed by his neighbor Glenda Cleveland?
In the series, Dahmer is arrested because his neighbor Glenda Cleveland continues to meddle about the rude smell coming from the ventilation duct in the next apartment.
In fact, this could not have happened because Glenda Cleveland lived in a completely different building. In fact, his neighbor, Pamela Bass, lived next to Dahmer, and she later reported that Dahmer distributed meat sandwiches.
However, Cleveland also helped solve the crimes, calling the police when she saw Konerak Sinthasomphone on the street. The series blends both characters into one character.
Did Dahmer attack a jogger?
This scene is only partially true: the real Dahmer stated in his interrogation that he actually planned ahead of time to attack a jogger near his home. In the series, he was actually waiting with a baseball bat and eventually brought a jogger home. In fact, this act may never have happened, the series brimming with Dahmer’s imagination.
Did the police return the victim to Dahmer?
In the series, young Konerak Sinthasomphone is picked up outside the house by neighbors and police. In this case, Dahmer managed to convince the police officers that Sinthasomphone was of legal age and that he was drunk. Officials asked no further questions and told HQ that they should be “neglected.”
This accident has already happened. As in Dahmer, the two officers were initially fired, but were later transferred to the police service as a result of a judgment and were able to work long jobs there.
It is also true that Dahmer had actually molested Sinthasomphone’s brother before Konerak, but he did not connect the victims. Unlike the series, however, Dahmer stated that he met Konerak Sinthasomphone at the “Grand Avenue Mall” rather than in front of a liquor store.
Was Dahmer really interviewed on TV after the conviction?
A moment in the series shows the appearance of the already convicted Dahmer on TV with his father. There are even arguments with victims’ families about potential royalties and income distribution.
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It seems ridiculous to ask a prison inmate to do a TV interview, this has happened many times in reality. Among other things, Dahmer himself was interviewed for 30 minutes in 1993 on the TV show “Inside Edition”. His father also appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.