Updated: Aug 8, 2020
Unsolved Mysteries has once again returned to the airwaves, so if you’ve missed your fix of real-life murder tales, Netflix has you sorted!
Before the days of Tiger King, The Ted Bundy Tapes and Making a Murderer, it was the Robert Slack-hosted series that captivated amateur sleuths and true-crime fanatics. Originally launched by the television network NBC, Unsolved Mysteries ran intermittently from 1987-2002, paving the way for the growth of the genre. Let’s face it, we have the original series to thank for the Joe Exotic-crazed phase of our lockdowns.
Now the series has resurfaced, stripped of its cheesy style with this gritty reboot that will leave you checking for the non-existent monsters living under your bed. Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries takes a distinctly different stance from its predecessor, each of the show’s first 6 episodes focusing a single unsolved cold case, predominantly that of murder and disappearances. No longer narrated by actor Robert Stack, the baton is handed over to family members, friends and witnesses who relay the chilling details of each story. Not a fan of murder and strange disappearances, you say? Fear not! The series has something in store for everyone with a sprinkle of the extra-terrestrial – can’t forget the aliens, right?
If the title hasn’t given it away, we are dealing with cases that are in some capacity unsolved, although just how unsolved they are varies with each story. The first episode remains, perhaps, the most intriguing and mind-boggling, likely to leave you scratching your head and rushing to the keyboard to get the latest on theories. The 2006 case deals with the death of Rey Rivera, who plummeted to his death from the rooftop of Baltimore’s esteemed Belvedere Hotel. The episode delves into the peculiars of Rivera’s fall, presumed a suicide by local police, raising the questions of how the finance journalist came to rest in an abandoned room of the Belvedere. Perhaps, the ‘Berkshire UFO’ (episode 4) was making its rounds in Baltimore.
Unlike the victims of the Berkshire UFO abduction, we see no surprise reappearances in the case of Patrice Endres, a hairdresser who disappeared in 2004. Patrice’s skeletal remains were found 600 days after her disappearance, leaving behind a teenage son and a shady husband 20 years her senior. While the mystery of Patrice’s death still remains, it becomes unusually clear who director Jimmy Goldblum believes is the culprit. As is the case with Dupont de Ligonnes murders, the façade of a happy family shattered with the discovery of the family buried under their own backyard porch. Who should be missing but the patriarch, Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes.
Next we move to a suspected hate crime, following the disappearance and murder of high school student Alonzo Brooks. The football player went missing in 2004, at a house party in a predominantly white town in Kansas, La Cygne. The story strikes a particular chord in the current political climate and the growing momentum behind the Black Lives Matter movement. Finally, it’s the Chapin family, headed by matriarch Sandy Chapin, constantly on the search for her next male victim that she hopes to seduce. One of Sandy’s conquests, Gary McCullough, abruptly disappears on their Missouri farm, while her new boyfriend Kris Klemp takes his place in the family. Lena, Sandy’s daughter, ultimately confesses to aiding and abetting her mother in Gary’s murder. One would presume that would be the end of the case, but Lena mysteriously disappears, supposedly leaving her infantile son in the custody of her mother.
Scary, right? It is presumed that a further 6 episodes are to arrive to feed our obsession. As is expected of a show called ‘Unsolved Mysteries’, we are left wanting to know more, to achieve a sense of justice for these bereaved families and the lost individuals.
Unsolved Mysteries is streaming now on Netflix.
Cover Image by Netflix via WTOP.com