The Golden State Killer was caught 2 years ago. But Michelle McNamara — the true crime writer who coined that name — never saw it. She died in 2016, and her husband helped finish her book about the case. Now, HBO has adapted her book into a docu-series.
Comedian Patton Oswalt helped finish his late wife Michelle McNamara's true-crime book about the Golden State Killer, I'll Be Gone in the Dark. Now, it's being adapted into a six-part series for HBO.
LG: First of all, when HBO sent me the manuscript, I didn't know about Michelle McNamara. I didn't know about the Golden State Killer. So my mind was was blown on both fronts. And Michelle just had this voice that I related to so, so deeply. I mean, first of all, she was just an incredible writer. And second of all, just as a mother and a working woman, and all of the things that she was trying to balance in her life, I really related to that.
On revisiting McNamara's deathPO: Yes, that was one of the that was one of the tasks that was before me, unfortunately, but yeah, I knew that I would have to do that.NK: How did you make it through that?I don't remember. Sloppily and badly. You're more like, I want to embrace life now rather than going over and over again. How, I mean, how I got through it was I woke up every morning and I went to bed every night and tried to, you know, just walk my way out of it. But you realize very quickly that you're not walking out of it. You're being put through it. So it's kind of out of your control.
On McNamara's role in solving the crime... one of the good things has come out of this is that the survivors have gone to every one of his court hearings, and he cannot meet their gaze. They all look at him, and he can't raise his head and look at them. He's so reduced.
Patton OswaltPO: Well, I mean, even before the DNA, the fact that she gave him the name the Golden State killer — and this is going to sound a little sick, but, you know, he was not given a cool name. And there is, unfortunately, a branding aspect that goes with solving a lot of cold cases, where if the killer doesn't have a cool name, it slips from the public's consciousness
On where they were when suspect Joseph James DeAngelo was arrestedPO: Oh, well, we were both in the lobby of the Sofitel in Chicago. We had done a book event the night before. And then the next morning, we're all getting up to fly to New York and we're all getting texts that he had been caught. And we're like, what in the hell?
LG: It was our first day of filming. We thought we were going to Chicago to just kind of do a chill shoot at a book event, a light lift. And then like Patton said, [we] woke up early. My cameraman was already on a flight somewhere else. And then all of a sudden we find out this has happened, and we're shooting Pat with an iPhone.
On the possibility of meeting Joseph DeAngeloPO: It's not that I want to meet him. I just want to ask him the questions that Michelle has for him at the end of her book. You know, I would love it if I could just sit down and convey her question to him and see if he answers or not. I mean, one of the good things has come out of this is that the survivors have gone to every one of his court hearings, and he cannot meet their gaze. They all look at him, and he can't raise his head and look at them. He's so reduced.
On what McNamara might have done nextPO: What would have been next would have been as surprising to me as it would have been to her. She was very nonjudgmental about where her obsessions led her. So it would have been really interesting to see where that energy and that focus and that creativity and empathy would have taken her. It could have taken her anywhere. And I know enough about her to know that I would not be able to predict that. That's what I can say with certainty. It would have been something totally surprising.
This story was produced for radio by Bo Hamby and Matt Kwong, and adapted for the Web by Petra Mayer Read more: NPR »
Looking forward to that docu-series. pattonoswalt your wife sounds like she was an awesome person. I'm sorry you lost her like that, but it's really cool that her work goes on posthumously. Seems like the best ones among us are the ones that leave us too soon. Hopefully they get a detailed confession from him. He should have to tell everything on all the crimes he committed.
shadesofmary I can’t wait to read this book. It will be my next book club choice. I’m sure the movie will be great too. pattonoswalt Thank you for making sure her book was finished & that her story was told. She did an amazing thing by ending this monster’s reign. She was an angel on Earth Omg please yes, this story needs to be told
This might be the 1st tweet I’ve seen that doesn’t use pattonoswalt’s name as part of the pitch. It’s perfect. Michelle McNamara found a serial killer decades after the fact. She was brilliant. If you need more to be sold on the story, that’s a YOU problem. IllBeGoneInTheDark A great book! My poem inspired by McNamara’s book... HumanKindPress
I read her articles recently and admired her decency and diligence in helping to capture this depraved monster. I was very saddened when I heard she passed away before they caught him. She was the type of person everyone should admire and respect. Can I still watch 'The Wire'?
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