Welcome to Netflix First Episode Reviews, I’ll be watching the first episode of a different show, and reviewing it for you. This week: crime documentary “I Am a Killer.”
“I Am a Killer” is a 10-episode series in which each episode a death row inmate tells the story of how they ended up there. Hint: It was murder.
My first impression of this show: I am uncomfortable.
Yet, it seems like this is probably the desired reaction of a show that sits down with a convicted killer and allows him to tell you his side of the story.
The constant creepy music and close-up shots of a sunken-eyed killer looking directly into the camera definitely do the trick.
In the first episode of the series, James Robertson tells the story of how he found himself murdering someone.
He was originally sentenced to 10 years in prison for burglary when he was 17 years old.
He describes himself as having a “bad attitude” after being jailed. He goes on to describe how, because of this so-called bad attitude, he managed to earn himself over 100 more years of prison-time while inside.
For me, a bad attitude is what I get when someone talks to me before I eat breakfast. Never do I commit multiple stabbings, try to escape prison by grabbing a security guards gun, or cause a riot, but I suppose everyone is different.
Because of his antics, Robertson ended up in close management or as he calls it CM. Prisoners in CM spend up to 23 hours a day in solitary confinement, alone in their cell.
Robertson describes it as “humiliating” and “inhumane.” At certain points, it seems as if he has to hold back tears while describing his experience.
He was kept in CM for years because every time he appealed, he was denied on account of his previous record.
One day, he decided he’d had enough. Robertson made the conscious decision to kill someone so he could be placed on death row because, “Anything is better than this,” he says.
(In fact, death row is considered luxury conditions compared to CM, and inmates could wait up to 25 years before an actual execution takes place.)
Robertson killed the first cellmate assigned to him in years, a child molester named Frank Hart, by strangling him.
“I don’t feel bad about it,” he said with a laugh.
“I am scared.” I said as I pooped my pants.
Just kidding. I am actually potty trained quite well. But for someone a bit more faint of heart than I, the reaction might not be far off.
This show is intense. Definitely compelling. Not my cup of tea.
However, if you are into stuff like that, then I would recommend I Am a Killer. Fans of shows like “Drugs Inc.,” “Locked Up Abroad” or “Homicide Hunter” would likely enjoy this show as well.
The concept of the show is interesting and all, I just personally don’t see myself sitting through 10 episodes of murderers looking right at me and describing themselves killing people.
Of course, there are differing perspectives included in the show, such as prison employees and victim’s families. So, it is not entirely dominated by these inmates. Nonetheless, I’m definitely going to pass on watching the rest of this series. But that doesn’t mean you have to.
“I Am a Killer” episode one rating: 7/10