I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, authored by the late Michelle McNamara, has just been green-lit for a documentary series production from HBO.
McNamara began working on the book in 2013, when she first gained interest in the case of the East Area Rapist (as he was known then) in California, a man who was responsible for 12 murders, 50 rapes and over 100 burglaries from 1976 to 1986. McNamara coined the term "Golden State Killer" herself, and poured herself into the research for this book, desperate to bring justice to all of the of Golden State Killer's victims. Unfortunately, McNamara died in April 2016, and didn't even get to see her book released. Thankfully, her work was released posthumously in February of this year, completed by her widower Patton Oswalt, crime writer Paul Haynes and investigative journalist Billy Jensen. Recently, there was a huge break in the case, which makes HBO's timing for a docu-series quite convenient.
Deadline has reported the beginning of production on I'll Be Gone in the Dark, which marks less than a month's turnaround from HBO's acquisition of the book's rights. This is understandable, as it would be in HBO's best interest to get the cameras rolling while the subject matter is still hot. Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Liz Garbus (What Happened Miss Simone?) will direct the series.
McNamara's book released in February 2018, merely two months before the Sacramento Police arrested Joseph James DeAngelo on April 24 as the prime suspect in the Golden State Killer case. DeAngelo was a former cop himself, but was fired in 1979 when he was caught shoplifting a hammer and dog repellent. The Golden State Killer was active from the years of 1976 to 1986, and it stands to reason that if he was a former cop, he would know the very best ways to avoid detection.
Oswalt has obviously been one of a few voices talking about McNamara's book leading up to it's release. Oddly enough, police never gave credit to I'll Be Gone in the Dark for helping catch DeAngelo, even though this book spurned a new interest in the case. After 32 years of inactivity, the police never found him. Two months after McNamara's book was released, DeAngelo is in handcuffs. Even the fact that the Golden State Killer moniker is used at all owes everything to Michelle and her book. On the day of DeAngelo's arrest, Oswalt replied with a very touching Instagram video in tribute to Michelle's hard work - work that she wasn't able complete in her lifetime - using words that will likely become synonymous with this case and the docu-series: "I think you got him Michelle." Sometimes, there truly is a perfect ending.