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Liz Garbus on the Vulnerability of ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark’

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The story of Michelle McNamara and the Golden State Killer case feels tailor-made for a great docuseries. But telling that story takes special consideration and empathy given that it deals with brutal sexual assault and murder. Not all true crime docuseries and documentaries focus on the victims in the way that this case requires.

Two-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus (The Farm: Angola, USA; What Happened, Miss Simone?) has always taken that consideration for her subjects, and so her involvement in the six-part documentary adaptation of McNamara’s book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark signaled that its story would be in good hands. As the excellent HBO series comes to a close this weekend, we present our conversation with the director about the program and the case as a whole.

What made you want to work on this project?

HBO’s Lisa Heller sent me the manuscript for I’ll Be Gone in the Dark — or the galleys of it — before publication. I did not know anything about Michelle McNamara or the Golden State Killer. But after reading Michelle’s manuscript, talking to Patton [Oswalt], and having some sense of the archival possibilities [of the series], I was super excited to join the journey.

How did you deal with including such personal and vulnerable details of Michelle’s life in the show?

Michelle left behind a list of things she wanted to explore. That guided some........

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