Fall River, a four-episode look at a series of murders in Fall River, Massachusetts four decades ago, premieres on Epix May 16. Fall River is probably best known for Lizzie Borden, who killed her parents with an ax in 1892.
More recently, a violent pimp named Carl Drew, who the police said was in charge of a satanic cult, was sent to prison for the murder of three young women.
The second episode is on Sunday, May 23, and the final two air May 30.
James Buddy Day directed the docuseries. “I always look for something interesting, something I can elevate, something people haven’t heard before,” he said. He read about the satanic component of the Fall River murders, and was “instantly intrigued.”
Many questions emerge as to whether Drew committed the murders. Lead investigator Paul Carey reinvestigated the case after he retired.
Fall River is in the southwestern corner of Massachusetts, on the Rhode Island border. Day said it’s the kind of place even people in Massachusetts are not that familiar with.
Lizzie Borden has long been Fall River’s claim to fame. “Her case really defined the town for years and years and years,” Day said. “She gave Fall River its gothic, macabre reputation.”
Fall River was experiencing serious crime when the murders were committed. It was a factory town where the factories shut down. “There was a huge economic black hole,” said Day. “People had to do what they had to do to make a living.”
That included prostitution. The hub for prostitutes in Fall River was not far from the police station, and the practice was tolerated by police, according to Day.
Drew was out of prison and living in Fall River while on parole. He hung with a motorcycle club. He met some sex workers and became a pimp. Drew speaks in the docuseries, and alleges his innocence.
“There’s never been any physical evidence that associates him with any of the murders,” said Day. “The people who lived through this believe the story that is out there is a lie.”
Blumhouse Television exec produces the project.
Asked how the 1979 murders are connected to Lizzie Borden, other than a shared hometown, Day said Fall River has an enormous Catholic presence, both in the many churches that dot the city, and its residents. “That definitely contributes to them believing the devil had something to do with it,” he said.
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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