Richard Ramirez is the focus of Netflix’s latest true-crime documentary series, The Night Stalker: The Hunt For A Serial Killer.
From June 1984 until August 1985, serial killer and rapist Ramirez is believed to have killed at least 14 people and raped and tortured 24 others in Southern and Northern California. There was no apparent pattern to these crimes and his victims were men, women and children who ranged in ages six to 82.
Dubbed The Night Stalker by the media, Ramirez would break into homes, kill and often rape and would also rob the property at night.
Ramirez was caught in August 1985 after an extensive police investigation, led by homicide detectives Frank Salerno and Gil Carrillo, whom the series focuses heavily on.

Over the course of the series, it glosses over a lot of the early childhood trauma he experienced. I was hoping it would give us more into Ramirez and who he was and what he thought about what he did, more similar to Mindhunter kind of revelations. although personalising some of his crimes by interviewing surviving victims was fascinating.
The documentary briefly mentions that Ramirez grew up with an abusive dad who was prone to violent rages, and his cousin Miguel, a Vietnam veteran, subjected young Ramirez to graphic pictures from the war, including one where he posed with the severed head of a woman he’d raped and decapitated. At 13, he witnessed Miguel shoot wife Jessie in the face during an argument, killing her instantly.
As a documentary, it was weak in my opinion.
I thought they did a decent job showing the crime scene photos for a few seconds then utilising computer renderings to make it less personal but allowing you to visualise the scene. They were brutal but the crimes were brutal.
It focused far too much on the detectives, which isn’t a bad thing as they are both smart, dedicated guys and I think it’s interesting to shine a light on those who were involved in the hunt but it doesn’t really make for compelling TV.
However, they did an excellent job of capturing the feel of the 80s and some of the fever-pitch paranoia and fear that ripped through Southern and Northern California at the time.
Overall I didn’t find it bad or good. It went with the usual format of a true-crime limited series from Netflix. It’s average at best.