While shows like Unsolved Mysteries and America's Most Wanted stand out as hallmarks of true crime's former hold on the small screen, more recent projects like HBO's The Jinx and Netflix's Making a Murderer (and the podcast Serial, by association) have offered new and narratively profound ways of presenting audiences with obsession-worthy crimes, punishments, and the trials in between. It's impossible to deny the seriousness of the murders at the heart of those and similar projects, but it's also impossible to deny that they all felt like popcorn cinema in comparison to the hard-hitting power of Netflix's newest docu-series, The Keepers.

In this brilliant exposé of a mountainous cover-up at a Baltimore Catholic high school, documentarian Ryan White (The Case Against 8) peels back the layers of a still-unsolved 1970 murder case and reveals a dark web of power-mongering debauchery and sexual abuse. And in case The Keepers has managed to slip below your radar in the weeks leading up to its release, let us give you a mostly spoiler-free look at why this chilling series is better than just about every true crime series that has come before it.

the keepers sister cathy picture

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The Keepers Is Way Bigger Than One Murder

The relatively light marketing campaign behind The Keepers has tethered everything to the disappearance-turned-murder of 26-year-old nun and high school teacher Cathy Cesnik, which is possibly best, since her tragic death is the easier-to-market entry point to a much deeper, much darker and much more collaterally damaging series of crimes that (allegedly) happened between and around the walls of what was then Baltimore's Archbishop Keough High School. Many true crime projects involving murders will take a whodunnit angle on the suspects, they'll focus specifically on the deviousness or depravity of the murder(s), or in the case of the aforementioned Murderer, Jinx and Serial, it's about figuring out whether a suspected and/or convicted person is indeed guilty of said crimes. At just seven episodes, The Keepers can't afford to focus on just Sister Cathy, because too many other damning details need unpacking.

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