There’s something about true crime stories that captivate an audience and hold their attention for extended periods of time. ABC News Studios has been able to tell countless stories of this sort, as they continue to release impressive documentaries recounting all kinds of grizzly events.
After 23-year-old escort Shannan Gilbert disappeared in 2010, police stumbled upon a serial killer’s graveyard in Gilgo Beach, Long Island — which held the human remains of four other missing sex workers. Truth and Lies: The Hunted explores the police’s ongoing investigation of this notorious case and dives deep into the subculture of sex work, giving viewers the point of view of the women behind these headlines.
As is almost always the case with these kinds of documentaries, the dramatic storytelling is what does most of the work. Reenactments of the victims’ encounters with the killer, the background provided by their families and of course a look at any actual evidence that can be provided, all come together to tell a compelling story. The Hunted certainly excels on this front, especially with the sheer number of people involved in the story, be they victims or otherwise. It’s hard not to become invested in their stories.
It’s also a very thorough documentary. The aforementioned families of the victims provide a great deal of context throughout that adds an intense element of emotion to the story. Viewers also get to hear from investigators, reporters, authors and many others with connections to or experience covering this fascinating case. There’s even archived footage of an interview with the killer that provides a chilling look into his mind.
With all of that being said, The Hunted is a bit tough to watch at times. If you are someone, like myself, who tends to watch these kidneys of documentaries often, you’re likely desensitized to some degree and aren’t often bothered by the subject matter of these stories. However, while this one isn’t particularly graphic or overly detailed in horrifying description, there is something about it that might have you feeling uneasy in your seat. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what it is about this documentary that inflicts that feeling, but there’s something about it that just might make you squirm a bit.
Overall, Truth & Lies: The Hunted is another strong true crime documentary from ABC News Studios. It has a compelling story to tell and it does so in a way that will grip you from start to finish. It tells that story from a lot of different angles so the audience isn’t left wanting more information. There are certainly easier true crime docs to watch out there just based on the nature of their stories, but it you’re not deterred by a story about gruesome murders, this is worth a watch.
Truth & Lies: The Hunted airs Thursday, January 25, at 9:00 p.m. EST on ABC and streams the next day on Hulu.