As soon as Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story was released in September, the true crime series became one of the biggest 2022 Netflix shows, and brought in audience numbers not seen since Stranger Things Season 4 earlier in the year. But while fans have had great reactions to the new series featuring Evan Peters as the notorious serial killer, those who experienced the “Milwaukee Cannibal” and his reign of terror for themselves have been bringing up issues, whether it be the family of one of his victims or a reporter who covered the case extensively.
That being said, we have come up with a list of scenes and scenarios featured in Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story that actually happened and others that either never took place or were heavily dramatized for the true crime show. The series got a lot of things right when it came to the portrayal of Dahmer’s victims, like Tracy Edwards in the series opener, but that’s not always the case. Let’s break it all down now.
Fiction: Glenda Cleveland Didn’t Live In The Same Building As Jeffrey Dahmer
One of the highlights of the Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story cast is Niecy Nash’s depiction of Glenda Cleveland, the killer’s neighbor who tried in vain to save one of his victims and draw attention to the smells and noises coming from his apartment. But, the reality of the situation is Nash’s standout character isn’t exclusively based on just one person, but instead an amalgamation of Cleveland and another woman named Pamela Bass.
Around the time of the show’s release, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel republished Cleveland’s 2011 obituary along with an editor’s note stating that unlike in the series which saw the concerned neighbor live next door to Dahmer, the real Cleveland lived in an adjacent building. However, the details about Cleveland constantly contacting police in hopes of bringing attention to Dahmer were based on reality.
Fiction: It Was Unlikely Jeffrey Dahmer Drank Multiple Bags Of Blood As Depicted, But He Did Try It Once
About halfway through the fourth episode of Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, titled “The Good Boy Box,” Evan Peters’ character is seen stealing blood from the plasma center where he works and taking it home. Not interested in another Swanson TV dinner with his grandma in front of the TV, Dahmer retreats to his bedroom and lays out two bags of blood before opening them up and drinking them.
It is not known how many times Dahmer took blood home and drank it in the years between his killings, but Dr. Park Dietz, a witness in the convicted killer’s 1992 insanity trial (which is also briefly depicted in the series), told the court that while Dahmer admitted to drinking blood once, he never mentioned that he took it home to do it. In fact, the psychologist, who spent 17 hours interviewing Dahmer, said that he spit it out because he didn’t like the taste, as reported by the Associated Press.
Fiction: Jeffrey Dahmer Gave The Human Sandwich To A Different Neighbor
While it is true Jeffrey Dahmer served a neighbor a sandwich containing human meat as depicted in the seventh episode of Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, the serial killer didn’t serve it to Glenda Cleveland. Remember earlier how it was stated that the show’s version of the character combined two real-life figures? Well, the other half of the composite character, Pamela Bass, was Dahmer’s neighbor in the Oxford Apartments, and she’s the one who received the sandwich.
In the documentary The Jeffrey Dahmer Files (streaming on Tubi), Bass admits that she ate one of the sandwiches Dahmer gave to her, saying she very well could have unknowingly eaten human body parts. Bass also points out throughout the 2013 documentary film that she trusted Dahmer and befriended him, which makes it all the worse for her.
Fact: Jeffrey Dahmer Was Baptized In Prison Months Before His Death
The Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Story finale, “God of Forgiveness, God of Vengeance” features one of the show’s strangest scenes: the prison baptism of the convicted killer just months before he was murdered. As strange as it seems, Dahmer did actually get baptized at the Columbia County Correctional Facility.
Shortly after the show’s premiere, Roy Ratcliff, the Wisconsin-based minister who conducted the ceremony, spoke with WQOW News and talked about his experiences with the convicted killer before and after the baptism. According to Ratcliff, the two spoke regularly in the months leading up to Dahmer’s death and became close. Despite this, Ratcliff does not justify Dahmer’s various crimes and agreed with the killer when he said he should have been put to death.
Fiction: Christopher Scarver Had Been On Work Duty With Jeffrey Dahmer Longer Than Depicted On The Show
In the Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story finale, Christopher Scarver (Furly Mac), the man who would kill Jeffrey Dahmer and Jesse Anderson (Jeff Harms), joins his two victims on work duty the day the double-murder takes place. Although the sequence got a lot of things right about the attacks, one small detail was the product of the show.
In an article published the morning after Jeffrey Dahmer was bludgeoned to death, the New York Times broke down the attack and what led to it. In the article, it was pointed out that Scarver, Dahmer, and Anderson had been on the same work detail for about three weeks without any incidents before the former decided to kill his two fellow inmates.
Fact: Christopher Scarver Killed Jeffrey Dahmer In Part Because He Taunted Inmates With Food
There’s a scene very early on in the ninth episode of Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, titled “The Boogeyman” where Dahmer taunts his fellow inmates in the prison cafeteria by playing with his food and acting like he’s eating his victims. This, among other reasons, was what led to Christopher Scarver's murder of Dahmer in November 1994.
When speaking with the New York Post in 2015, Scarver, who was given two additional life sentences for the killings, explained that he grew to despise Dahmer because he would use his food to make limbs and then drizzle them with ketchup. Scarver also admitted that Dahmer’s lack of remorse and attitude towards other inmates led to his decision to kill him.
Fact: Jeffrey Dahmer’s Parents Did Fight Over His Brain Following His 1994 Murder
In the final episode of Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, after the convicted killer is dead and cremated, his parents — Lionel Dahmer (Richard Jenkins) and Joyce Flint (Penelope Ann Miller) are depicted fighting over what to do with their son’s brain. While Joyce wants to send it off to be dissected and researched in hopes of finding a reason for her son’s actions, Lionel wants it destroyed so the family, the victims, and the country can move past the horrific events and put it behind them.
This scene seems to have come right out of two different articles written on the matter following Dahmer’s 1995 cremation (they had to wait until after Scarver’s trial), the first being a Washington Post report on the initial fight, and then a Los Angeles Times article on a judge’s decision to have the brain destroyed despite the request from Dahmer’s mother.
Despite some small inaccuracies that could be chalked up to creative decisions in the writing process for Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, the Ryan Murphy series does get a lot of the major details right. If you’re all finished up with the series and want something lighter to dive into, there are still plenty of other new and returning shows to lighten the mood on the 2022 TV schedule.
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Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.