Ever since Serial made true-crime obsessives of us all back in 2014, we’ve been eagerly seeking our next fix, and Netflix’s latest must-watch series The Keepers will provide just that.
Billed as the streaming service’s most ambitious docuseries to date, The Keepers promises a gripping seven-part investigation into the unsolved murder of a Baltimore nun, Sister Cathy Cesnik, shedding light upon systematic abuses of power and corruption that have been covered up for nearly five decades. Based on that description alone, it looks set to rival Making A Murderer in terms of its binge-watch potential.
Ahead of its premiere on May 19th, here's everything we know so far about the show's haunting cold case...
Who was Sister Cathy?
A teacher and nun at the all-girls Archbishop Kenough High School in Baltimore, the charismatic Sister Catherine 'Cathy' Cesnik was a favourite with her pupils, teaching English and drama. On November 7th 1969, aged just 26, she never returned from a Friday night shopping trip, leading her roommate to become concerned.
After the police were alerted, Cathy's car was discovered, parked at a strange angle just a block away from her home; Cathy, meanwhile, appeared to have vanished.
The murder investigation
An investigation ensued, but quickly cooled off: homicide detective Nick Giangrasso, who was initially placed on the case, has since revealed his suspicions that the linked with the Catholic Church may well have caused the police to conveniently overlook some glaring discrepancies in the case. 'The Catholic Church had a lot of input into the police department,' he told the Huffington Post just two years ago. 'A lot of power.'
It wasn't until the following January that Cathy's body was finally discovered, with forensic investigations revealing that the nun had been choked and hit with a blunt object. Despite these obvious signs of violence - and the coroner ruling murder to be the cause of death - the crime remains unsolved and the case remains cold.
'You see what happens when you say bad things about people?'
Sister Cathy's case came back into the spotlight in the 90s, when one of her former students came forward to reveal that she had been sexually abused by the high school’s chaplain, Father Joseph Maskell. In an utterly chilling testimony, this so-called 'Jane Doe' recalled being shown the nun's body - months before the official discovery by police. 'You see what happens when you say bad things about people?' the chaplain reportedly told her. Despite this statement, and the testimony of other victims and witnesses, no one was ever held accountable for the abuse.
So, what is The Keepers actually about?
Netflix's latest series isn't just a typical 'whodunnit': as well as asking 'Who killed Sister Cathy,' it seeks to uncover the truth about decades-long allegations of sex abuse in the Catholic Church. Making A Murderer meets Spotlight, if you will, asking uncomfortable questions about abuse of power and endemic corruption. As the trailer puts it, 'this story is not the nun's killing. The story is the cover up of the nun's story.'
At the heart of the show are Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Schaub, two former students at Keough High School who were among the pupils taught by Sister Cathy back in the Sixties. Now retired, the pair are determined to shed further light upon the murder that has troubled them their whole lives, using social media to re-connect with the friends, relatives and Baltimore citizens that have been affected by the case. Their line of investigation is clear: did Sister Cathy learn 'too much' about the horrific goings on at the school, and did this eventually result in her death?
As with any truly gripping true crime story, many of these questions can't be met with a straight, simple answer, whether that's down to lost evidence, a cover-up operation or simply the fact that many of the case's key players have since passed away.
When does The Keepers arrive on Netflix?
Hooked yet? You'll be able to watch all seven episodes of The Keepers from Friday 19th May (may we suggest alternating with the third season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - which arrives on the same day - when you're in need of something a little lighter?) In the mean time, here's the trailer....