‘Catching Killers’: 3 Serial Killers That Could Be Featured in a Possible Season 2

Catching Killers is Netflix’s latest gift to true-crime obsessives. The four-episode docuseries features cops recounting their stories of nabbing several notorious serial killers, including Gary Ridgway (aka the Green River Killer), Aileen Wuornos, and the Happy Face Killer (Keith Hunter Jesperson). It’s a quick binge that will leave many viewers craving more. 

Will there be a ‘Catching Killers’ Season 2?

Netflix hasn’t announced whether it’s planning a Catching Killers Season 2. But if there are future episodes of the series, there are plenty of darkly fascinating stories of serial killers and the detectives who helped put a stop to their crimes that would make for compelling episodes. Three possible candidates include Dennis Rader, Joseph James DeAngelo, and Lonnie Franklin Jr. 

Dennis Rader (aka the BTK Strangler) could be the subject of a future ‘Catching Killers’ episode

Dennis Rader with his lawyer in court, seen from behind
The BTK Killer (Dennis Rader) in court in 2005 | Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Dennis Rader murdered 10 people in Kansas between 1974 and 1991. His crimes — and the way they were solved — make him a perfect subject for a possible second season of Catching Killers.

In a taunting note to police sent after one of his early crimes, Rader dubbed himself the BTK Strangler. (He was also known as the BTK Killer.) But detectives were unable to discover his true identity. Eventually, the case went cold. The murders may have remained unsolved if it wasn’t for Rader’s need for attention. 

In 2004, BTK resurfaced, sending a message to a local newspaper in Wichita (via Biography). More communications followed. At one point, he asked police if he could communicate with them via floppy disk. That turned out to be the break investigators needed. Information on the disk led police to Rader.   

“Him sending that disk is what cracked the case,” Wichita police lieutenant Ken Landwehr, who was in charge of the investigation, told the ABA Journal in 2006. “If he had just quit [killing] and kept his mouth shut, we might never have connected the dots.”

Joseph James DeAngelo aka The Golden State Killer 

A man standing next to a mug shot of Joseph James DeAngelo
A photo of Joseph James DeAngelo on display during a 2018 news conference | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Another potential candidate for Catching Killers? Joseph James DeAngelo, dubbed the Golden State Killer, who investigators identified using a new technique dubbed forensic genetic genealogy.

DeAngelo was the man behind a series of rapes and murders committed across California in the 1970s and 1980s. For years, cops struggled to find the man responsible. Finally, years after the killer seemed to have vanished, investigators uploaded DNA the perpetrator left at a crime scene to a public genealogy database. They began tracing the killer’s distant relatives and building family trees. That eventually led them to DeAngelo, a retired cop living in a suburb of Sacramento. Police arrested him in 2018. He pleaded guilty in 2020.  

​​“Everything else up to this time had failed,” Paul Holes, an investigator with the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office told The Washington Post. “For 44 years, law enforcement has been trying to solve this case. No other case has had more resources poured into it in the history of California. I was just stunned.”

Lonnie Franklin Jr. aka The Grim Sleeper 

A police officer stands in front of a poster featuring images of women found in possession of killer Lonnie Franklin
A display of over 100 images found in possession of Lonnie Franklin Jr. | Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images

A third candidate for Catching Killers is Lonnie Franklin Jr., also known as the Grim Sleeper. In the mid-1980s, he stalked the streets of South Los Angeles, killing Black women.

The killings appeared to stop in 1988, only to restart again in 2002. The gap earned the murderer his “sleeper” nickname, noted the New York Times. By that time, DNA technology had advanced. Police were able to use genetic material left at a crime scene to search a criminal database. That led them to Lonnie Franklin Jr. After getting Franklin’s DNA off a piece of pizza crust, police arrested him. A jury convicted him of 10 murders. But 180 photos of different women found in his home led police to suspect he had many other victims. Police released the photos and urged anyone who could identify the women to come forward.  

“These people are not suspects, we don’t even know if they are victims, but we do know this: Lonnie Franklin’s reign of terror in the city of Los Angeles, which spanned well over two decades, culminating with almost a dozen murder victims, certainly needs to be investigated further,” Charlie Beck, then the chief of  Los Angeles Police said a 2010 press conference (via Reuters). “And we certainly don’t believe we are so lucky or so good as to know all of his victims. We need the public’s help.” 

Catching Killers is currently streaming on Netflix. 

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