Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes is a documentary about the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy who managed to evade detection and prosecution for his crimes – which included the kidnap, rape and murder of at least 30 women – for many years before finally being convicted.
Before he was executed via the electric chair in 1989, Bundy was interviewed, and he confessed to many of his crimes. The series combines these recordings with statements from his former friends and his surviving victims to shed light on this exceptional case – and to try and find out how it was possible that someone who committed so many terrible crimes could detection for so long.
Where to watch Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
What is Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes about?
The Netflix documentary series explores the story of Ted Bundy, a psychopath who confessed to kidnapping, raping and murdering 30 women. His superficial charm not only led to him avoiding detection by the authorities – he seemed an unlikely suspect – but also meant that, even after he was convicted and in custody, he attracted a large number of ‘fans’, and countless women wrote him love letters whilst he was in prison.
The series begins by introducing the journalists Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth discussing why they want to show Ted Bundy’s story from his point of view. His first known victims are introduced. The second episode delves into how Bundy initially became a suspect – his partner at the time began to suspect that something strange was going on, and a survivor of an attempted murder, DeRonch, speaks up.
The third episode tells the story of how Bundy escaped from police custody during his trial – in which he decided to act as his own lawyer – but even after this lucky getaway, continued to commit atrocious crimes which led to his arrest for a triple-murder in Florida. Finally, the last episode shows Bundy’s trial and conviction, along with details of his psychological diagnosis and his confessions.
The series presents Bundy’s case as an example of the dangers of following the values of modern America – where attractiveness and charisma are trusted above concrete evidence, people like Ted Bundy are allowed to slip through the net. In fact, after the documentary was released, Netflix felt obliged to write a statement to discourage fans from lusting after Bundy – disturbingly, it seems that the murderer-necrophile-rapist still has the power to attract a following of devoted fans.
— Chencha Phoenix (@SoyLaChencha) January 29, 2019
Who directed Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes?
The series was directed by Joo Berlinger, who has also directed the documentaries Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, Crude, and Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger. This documentary, and the dramatisation of the story in the accompanying film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile are Berlinger’s best known works to date.
How many episodes of Conversations with a killer: The Ted Bundy tapes are there?
The series has four episodes making up one season. Each is an hour-long and is composed of interviews and archival footage of Bundy, as well as interviews with those with a connection to his crimes.
What to watch/read next?
If you enjoyed the series, it might be worth checking out Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile – the two films share the same director. The film is a dramatisation of the story of Ted Bundy, told from the perspective of his partner. In the series, Zac Efron replicates Bundy’s characteristic charm that enabled him to get away with a number of heinous crimes.