Netflix’s The Keepers is already being hailed as the next big thing in true crime. And while the docuseries does a lot of things well, presenting evidence is not one of them.
The Keepers tells two stories: one of a murder of a young affable nun named Sister Cathy, and one of the systematic sexual abuse of young adults by Father Joseph Maskell. The tale is mainly told through the victims of the abuse, as well as former students of Cathy’s.
The story of abuse is told immaculately. Rarely does a true crime story focus so heavily on the victims’ stories, while The Keepers gives the survivors the spotlight. The series does an excellent job of highlighting not only the continuous abuse that occurred but also the lengths the church went to cover up and protect Father Maskell.
But the telling of the murder is another thing. The series presents several possible suspects in the murder with little viable “evidence” — if you can even call it that. Two main theories rely on women who had “suspicions” that family members had murdered her despite no hardcore proof, motive, or otherwise. And worse, the documentary treats these as realistic theories.
One such theory is that Edgard Schmidt and his cousin Bill, who happened to live in the same building as Cathy, killed her. Again, there is absolutely no motive presented and no proof.
The only piece of so-called evidence that the docuseries presents is a necklace that Edgar gave his wife a month after Cathy’s death. And what does this necklace have to do with Cathy? Absolutely nothing. They think that maybe Cathy had bought it as an engagement present for her sister but there is no proof that Cathy ever made such a purchase.
Even worse, the series then goes on to harass Edgar, who is now an elderly and clearly very senile old man. They continue to ask Edgar again and again about Cathy and the old man has literally no idea what’s going on.
None of the other suspects the docuseries names are alive so Edgar is the only one on the receiving end.
There’s no doubt that Father Maskell committed serious and heinous abuse against many young men and women. But the series should have left the focus on that, rather than continue to present conspiracy theories as to who might have killed Sister Cathy without the proof to back it up.