Netflix’s latest true-crime docuseries (a documentary in the form of a series), “The Keepers,” is a little more than seven hours of heart-wrenching and intriguing suspense. The series chronicles the case of murdered nun and teacher Catherine Cesnik in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as the uncovering of sexual abuse within the Catholic school where she used to work.
The series presents different potential suspects and questions the watcher’s impressions of these people. What the series does best is tell real, impactful stories about women who prevailed in the face of torment. Some of these women suffered abuse at the hands of priests among others, while other women strived to uncover the truth behind the murder of Sister Cathy, their favorite English teacher.
Originally, I wasn’t interested in watching the series. When I saw it suggested on Netflix’s “Recently Added” queue, I saw a ghostly picture of a nun and closed the tab. Watching or reading true crime isn’t something I enjoy putting myself through: It’s difficult, demanding and sometimes demeaning.
But I ended up watching it because someone recommended it to me. That someone, now a friend, was once my high-school English teacher. She, a true-crime connoisseur, said I should watch it, calling it “heavy” but “well done.” I conceded tentatively at first, because I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It seems trivial to be nervous to watch a television show, but, like any compelling story, delving into it, mind and imagination, can change you at the end.
Blazing through the seven parts was almost imperative, but knowing the conclusion to the story wasn’t necessarily satisfying. In many ways, justice wasn’t met for Sister Cathy, her family or those women and men who were abused in their youth. The conclusion wasn’t a conclusion at all. The series overall serves an important lesson though: Watching these stories will make you cry, foment and wonder in disbelief how things like this could happen.
Watch the series, not because it’s a fun summer show to make you laugh or help you forget about your problems. Watch the series, because the stories that these people bravely shared deserve to be heard and gleaned from.