Joe Berlinger directs the three-part Netflix true crime documentary series ‘Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer.’ It recounts the murders perpetrated by Richard Cottingham, the Times Square Torso Ripper.
When two women are killed in a seedy motel near Times Square in 1980, the police engage in an investigation that takes them into the underworld of New York City. Among all of the dirty politics, corrupt officials, and creepy businesses, there is a murderer who is stalking among the bars, strip joints, and adult theaters. The chase will lead them not just into the dark places of New York, but also into the underbelly of New Jersey.
The documentary does a good job of telling the story of Richard Cottingham and his downfall. He is clearly a sick and disturbed individual man who did all kinds of horrible things to his targets. I felt like they did a good job of presenting his crimes and paying homage to the victims.
Now, the feature does spend a little too long on the underworld of the city. They played some creepy footage from various clubs and it was “adults only” content. I was like, “I get it, New York was bad then.” I wish they would have diverted that discussion to stuff more relevant to the case.
That being said, the documentary does a good job of presenting the case, the investigation, and the eventual capture of Cottingham. They do a good job of exposing him and his crimes. It was well-put-together and I thought the interviews with some of the people involved were very enlightening. While the topic is disturbing, I am glad that Cottingham was caught and there was justice for his eight confirmed victims. A lot of documentaries fall prey to making the killer seem glamorous, but this one avoids it.
Check out the trailer below:
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Discussion of violence, Disturbing topics, Gruesome images, Foul language, Sexual content, Nudity
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