Netflix and true crime are a match made in heaven. First, there was Making A Murderer. Now, there’s The Keepers.
The newest binge-worthy addition to the true crime saga is The Keepers, which premiered last Friday on Netflix. I remember watching the trailer when it first came out and I knew I was hooked from the start. The big question that the series tries to answer is this: Who Killed Sister Cathy Cesnik?
Let’s get into a little backstory. The plot sounds like a murder movie script. You actually think to yourself that this can’t happen. Think again. Cathy Cesnik was a 26 year old nun / teacher at Archbishop Keough High School in Baltimore, Maryland in the 1960s. On November 7, 1969, Sister Cathy disappeared only to be found lying dead in a dump on January 3, 1970. Sister Cathy was murdered, but by who?
It’s now May 24, 2017, and the murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik is still unsolved. So there’s your series. Let’s try to solve the murder of Sister Cathy.
Turns out there’s more. A LOT more. Buckle up, it gets worse. Way worse.
You quickly soon learn that real backstory of the murder is a what went on behind closed doors at the high school involving one of the priests, Joseph Maskell. Simply put, Joseph Maskell was a horrible man and I think I’m being nice by just using “horrible” to describe him. You start to learn about a history of abuse at the school by Father Maskell and how many victims / former students come out and believe that there was a cover up by the Baltimore Church and Police Dept. in regards to Sister Cathy’s murder. The sense that you get is Sister Cathy knew what was going on, Maskell did not want the information regarding his abuse to get out, and took the necessary steps to rid Sister Cathy out of the equation. Remember how I said this sounded like a movie script? Well, it’s a real-life, disgusting nightmare that makes me sick to my stomach.
As you get more frustrated with the Church and Police as the series goes on, you start to see that this documentary is really the story of strong women and their resilience. You meet Gemma and Abbie, the women who refuse to give up and seek justice for Sister Cathy and Joyce Maleki, another murder you learn about that might have a connection to Cathy’s murder. You go on a gut-wrenching journey with Jane Doe, an abuse victim who has had to carry the burden of pain and regret throughout her whole life. You’ll meet other abuse victims and friends of Sister Cathy who like Jane Doe, still struggle to rid themselves of the horrible memories with Father Maskell.
Whenever I watch a powerful show like this, I always ask myself what will come of it upon airing. I know that there is a good possibility there won’t be a happy ending such as justice for Sister Cathy and Joyce Maleki. But are silver linings possible? I think there can be. In fact, this just happened the other day. In response to the series, the Baltimore Police created an online form for people to report sex offense allegations. A small win for an uphill battle, but it’s a start.
I leave you with the idea of dead ends. The Keepers proves that dead ends exist and they’re a real bitch. It’s really easy to give up, call it a day, and sweep things under the rug. Not for these women. Not for these persistent and inspiring women. These women won’t give up.
The series is only 7 episodes, but the story will go on until justice is served.