The Serpent | True Crime Recommendation


Just finished watching the new mini-series on Netflix, ''The Serpent", and if you're a fan of TV based on real crime, then I highly recommend this.

The series is based on the prolific 1970s serial killer, Charles Sobhraj, who targeted backpackers in Asia's hippie tourist spots and the efforts to bring him to justice.

I have met many such backpackers when I worked in Thailand and living life trying to save every dollar does require taking some risks with the people you meet. Most people you meet are genuine and nice but all it takes is a single run-in with someone like Sobhraj.

Sobhraj was a charmer, spinning fantasy tales to lull his victims into a false sense of calm, before drugging and then killing them. How he was able to do so with so many people watching is something that probably wouldn't happen in this day and age with cameras all around.

The Hunt

The other big part of the series was on the efforts made by a Dutch diplomat to catch him. Risking his life and his career, he went against the advice of almost everyone to try and bring Sobhraj to justice.

The series highlights the challenges of tracking down criminals across borders and also the reality that if you're poor, its unlikely that the authorities would bother if something were to happen to you. I guess some things never change.

Worth watching

I was captivated by the series. Although it was a little tedious and slow-moving at times, the overall pacing was pretty good and there were definitely a lot of suspenseful moments where you were left wondering if some of the characters were going to get knocked off or not.

One complaint I do have, was the back and forth between the present-day and a scene that happened a couple of years ago. It made following the plot a little complicated at times and I felt that providing so much of a backstory wasn't needed. Just a minor complaint.

Another complaint is that as with most British and American shows, the lead characters are way too good looking. Go check out how Charles Sobhraj or Monique look like in real life and how they were able to charm so many backpackers becomes even more of a mystery.

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