This true crime documentary is a slow starter and requires patience. But give it time, you won’t regret it. A clever balance of interviews and reconstructions whisk the viewer away into a sinister world of conspiracy and murder.
The Keepers explores the case of Sister Cathy Cesnik, a young nun and school teacher who went missing in 1969 in Baltimore. Her body was found two months later dumped on remote scrubland, yet to this day her murder remains unsolved. But a mismatched team of Sister Cathy’s former pupils and investigative journalists are intent on finding answers. As their search for the truth goes on, a terrifying conspiracy of sexual abuse comes to light. It seems Sister Cathy knew things she shouldn’t, and there were people who made sure she could never tell a living soul.
But it does take time to get going, mostly because the case is so complicated you need to allow the first couple of episodes to set the scene.
It has been compared to Making a Murderer but the story-telling is very different. The Keepers doesn’t really rely too much on major twists to keep you hooked, it isn’t sensationalised, nor is there the anticipation of any real answers. Instead, the viewer is fed the disturbing complexities of the case with sensitivity.
The only real criticism I have is the lack of a centralised narrator, and with a complex plot like this – that jumps between 1969, the 1990s and the present day – sometimes you need a guide to hold your hand. At first the two amateur sleuths (and former students of Sister Cathy) seem to take on that role, but then it veers away from their investigation and becomes a little hard to follow. But with each revelation, coupled with an unnerving reconstruction, it makes for some chilling viewing. The show is a real journey, from beginning to end you’ll be tossed between a range of emotions. From utter heart-break, to terror and anger. You will become so invested and completely in-love with the beautiful human being that was Sister Cathy, that the sheer injustice of her death and the abuse that surrounded it will make you want to march down to Baltimore and confront the Archdiocese yourself. And I guess what makes this truly frightening, is that it is completely real. The Keepers is, without doubt, essential Netflix viewing.
- The mismatched sleuths, Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Schaub, they make an endearing, but formidable double-act.
- The depth and complexity of the case, especially as it is still unsolved.
- There are so many WTF moments.
- It requires concentration and can be hard to follow.
- It lacks a centralised narrator.
- Father Maskell. The Archdiocese. You’ll find out why.
- There is no real resolution.
Don’t expect one either. Film-maker Ryan White has ruled out a second season. Speaking to E News, he said: “I have no plans to continue documenting it. This was a painful process for a lot of the people involved… but that’s not to say that I’m not excited to see what answers come out of it.”