I'll Be Gone in the Dark: Season 1 (2020)


Season 1
I'll Be Gone in the Dark

Critics Consensus

Director Liz Garbus smartly centers I'll Be Gone in the Dark around the late Michelle McNamara's passionate efforts, weaving together a heavy, but important tapestry of trauma, obsession, and survival.



Critic Ratings: 48


Audience Score

User Ratings: 131

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Air date: Jun 28, 2020

A look at author Michelle McNamara's investigation regarding a violent predator she dubbed the "Golden State Killer," who terrorized California in the 1970s and '80s.

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Air date: Jul 5, 2020

Michelle McNamara reflects on the 1984 murder of her childhood neighbor Kathy Lombardo, which she credits with planting the seed for her lifelong fascination with unsolved crimes. Local detectives who worked the East Area Rapist case in the '70s—and citizen detectives who picked up where they left off—discuss a proliferation of serial rape cases in Northern California at the time, discussing an era when victims were often too ashamed to speak out and sexual crime was minimized in the press.

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Air date: Jul 12, 2020

In 1979, law enforcement is thrilled when the East Area Rapist (EAR) attacks abruptly stop in Northern California, but in reality, EAR has moved south to commit a number of gruesome murders in the Santa Barbara area, known as the "Original Night Stalker" series. The hunt for the perpetrator stalls due to lack of cooperation between jurisdictions and concerns of tarnishing the area's pristine image, leaving the community unaware of the predator in their midst.

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Air date: Jul 19, 2020

Michelle and her editors agree to push her book deadline after being granted access to the Orange County Sheriff's Department's East Area Rapist / Original Night Stalker (EAR/ONS) room. Poring over 37 boxes of files now occupying her daughter's playroom, Michelle and her researcher Paul Haynes explore the case of the "Visalia Ransacker," the perpetrator of a string of burglaries in the early '70s bearing striking similarities to EAR.

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Air date: Jul 26, 2020

Michelle's loved ones cope with her sudden death, but her work to unmask the Golden State Killer lives on. Inspired by McNamara's interest in genealogy and online DNA testing services, Contra Costa County forensics chief Paul Holes reconstructs the killer's family tree with help from genetic genealogist Barbara-Rae Venter. After inheriting Michelle's 37 boxes of case files, researcher Paul Haynes and true-crime writer Billy Jensen work with Michelle's husband, Patton Oswalt, to finish her book.

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Air date: Aug 2, 2020

In the series finale, 72-year-old former police officer Joe DeAngelo's arrest unfolds in real time, and chilling facts materialize that illuminate Michelle's prescience in her book's epilogue, "Letter to an Old Man." Exclusive interviews with DeAngelo's relatives reveal early family trauma, and his double life as a suburban dad and serial predator, while his ex-fiancée also details the behavior and warning signs that lead her to end their engagement.

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Air date: Jun 21, 2021

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I'll Be Gone in the Dark: Season 1 Videos

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

Cast & Crew

Liz Garbus

News & Interviews for I'll Be Gone in the Dark: Season 1

Critic Reviews for I'll Be Gone in the Dark Season 1

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (26)

Imagine McNamara's single-mindedness without her restraint. Imagine the pressure to satisfy and impress a community of like-minded people without the accompanying knowledge that to speak recklessly is dangerous.

Aug 3, 2020 | Full Review…

These details might seem superfluous, but as many of the series' interview subjects observe, the killer seemed possessed by a desire to desecrate and ruin the domestic solidarity of couples like Oswalt and McNamara.

Jul 1, 2020 | Full Review…

"I'll Be Gone in the Dark" is a compelling, flawed story of true crime and obsession - and its flaws are part of what make it so intriguing.

Jun 30, 2020 | Full Review…

"I'll Be Gone in the Dark" is more than a true crime documentary, although it succeeds in a terrifyingly brilliant way.

Jun 29, 2020 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

It doesn't have all the answers - no one does - but it asks the right questions in the right way.

Jun 26, 2020 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

A series that keeps its human core in a way that true crime offerings often don't.

Jun 26, 2020 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

As much as anything else, HBO's "I'll Be Gone in the Dark" serves as a touching eulogy, with each of those interviewed - from Oswalt to investigators and even victims - paying tribute both to McNamara's doggedness as well as her sensitivity.

Dec 30, 2020 | Full Review…

I'll Be Gone in the Dark walks a narrative tightrope, in that it isn't just about our mothers and daughters and sisters, etc. It's about parents, who play an awfully important role in this series.

Dec 30, 2020 | Rating: A | Full Review…

It's a necessary documentary show, but it also feels kind of disorganized. [Full review in Spanish].

Oct 5, 2020 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Killer and victims get equal time in gripping docuseries.

Aug 7, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

I'll Be Gone in the Dark is not merely a true crime documentary. Those are a dime a dozen. It is a living, breathing tribute to one woman's quest to do right for several women who had something very wrong done to them.

Aug 5, 2020 | Full Review…

Sensitive, unusual, uplifting, revelatory and deeply moving, I'll Be Gone in the Dark is one of the best true crime docu-series in a while and it's up against stiff competition.

Jun 23, 2020 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for I'll Be Gone in the Dark: Season 1

  • 6h ago
    This is a very well told and compelling cautionary tale. So sad to see someone so talented, intelligent, driven, and with so much passion for the work she was almost desperate to complete fall just short of realizing her goal. Inspiring to see the community Joseph D'Angelo left in his wake pull together to support one another. And amazing to see him caught. There can be no justice, nothing the law can do can compensate the damage he inflicted on so many, but there can be some accountability.
  • 5d ago
    A very interesting story told in a very tedious manner. Tied to a format that required 58 mins of content per episode, the show regularly returns to characters to spend another 10 minutes telling more about their story that adds nothing new to the narrative. More filler than the shelves in B&Q.
  • May 09, 2021
    I have finally found the show to rightfully oust "Don't F*ck with Cats" as my most favorite true crime doco. I could definitely understand if some argue that IBGITD is a disservice to the genre for it twists the lens to occasionally blur at the crimes; but for me, as a hard sipper of this cup of tea, Michelle's life being heavily injected into it fed me more, and better, than the familiar beefiness of terror and paranoia. Now, I want to read her book.
  • Apr 11, 2021
    I'll be gone after episode 1 - extremely boring and self-centered. If you are interested in the daily life of the author of the book and how great she was, this might interest you (but even then, I don't think this series is well-made at all). If you are interested in the actual crime series, don't watch it, because 90 % of the series aren't even about it, and the 10 % that are are still mediocre.
  • Jan 24, 2021
    Absolutely incredible story - don't believe the negative reviews... this is a must watch
  • Jan 10, 2021
    This is not your average crime docco. It's also a fascinating study of a passionate writer committed to finding justice.
  • Sep 22, 2020
    This was a much needed companion docuseries to McNamara's posthumously published true crime thriller that, in addition to the investigation laid out in her book, examines the details of her tragic and untimely passing as well as the eventual solving of a 40 year case.
  • Sep 15, 2020
    This documentary is interesting but doesn't quite make the jump to incredible. The issue that the series has is the same as the book (which I also read), albeit for a slightly different reason. The book feels incomplete because Michelle died and left so much unfinished (her writing really is incredible and it makes you really wish you could have read her completed book) and the documentary feels incomplete because the case was solved while they were filming but the outcome of a possible trial with the suspect (now admitted killer) wasn't known. The documentary tried to juggle Michelle's story, the survivor's stories, the investigation's story... It doesn't quite work. I don't really blame the filmmakers, I think they did as well as anyone could with the hand they were dealt. The result is a good, slightly uneven documentary that doesn't quite feel satisfying.
  • Sep 07, 2020
    A good documentary about the Golden State Killer and Michelle McNamara's fascination with the case. This series also provides some of the closure missing from the book it was based on, since that came out before the killer was arrested and was finished after the death of the author.
  • Sep 06, 2020
    This is just a memoir of Michelle McNamara, who by all means is just someone with an interest in the case, and personally does not have anything to do with the Golden state killer crimes. It is less coverage on the true crime part, and more on Michelle and not-so-interesting conversations of people about what kind of person she was and how their first impression was of her when they met in a cafe. Thats really not what I was looking for in a true crime show about Golden state killer Also, way too stretched, the actual content it covers could be covered in 1 episode or a movie.

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