"The Serpent" is a Netflix series about French serial killer Charles Sobhraj, played by Tahar Rahim. (Netflix, BBC One)
Campbell Hall School

Review: ‘The Serpent’ is a crime drama series full of suspense

“My Octopus Teacher.” “This is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist.” “The Social Dilemma.”

These, and countless other films, all have something in common: they are Netflix shows. And the beauty of having accessibility to Netflix is learning about interesting aspects of history that I otherwise would have never heard about.

During spring break, I stumbled on one in particular that caught my attention: “The Serpent” (spoiler alert: if you haven’t watched “The Serpent,” then skip this next three paragraphs!).

“The Serpent” is a limited series that follows Herman Knippenberg, a Dutch diplomat, as he traces and recounts the murders of Charles Sobhraj (or Alain Gautier) and his accomplices, Ajay Chowdhury and Marie Andree Leclerc (or Monique). Each episode is filled with an intensity that is hard to match.

I suppose that this is due to the fact that “The Serpent” is based on a true story and that Sobhraj’s method of murder is drawn out, so much so that you begin to feel a great amount of sympathy for the victims and their inevitable, but too late, realization about what is happening.

Adding to this powerful mood is Sobhraj’s calming and relaxed voice, as he carefully and methodically executes his prisoners so as to come up with alibis in the form of stolen passports and completely distance himself from each crime. One begins to wonder if he feels any pain at all through these killings. 

I won’t spoil any more of the show, but all I’ll say is that it captivates its audiences until you have binge-watched the entire series in a few hours. I consider myself having a short attention span and it was hard turning off the TV after watching a couple of episodes. After watching, I scrolled through Wikipedia articles in my free time trying to find out more about Charles Sobhraj. 

My main point in writing this piece is that Netflix, and other streaming services, have made it possible to learn about all of these interesting topics and parts of history and life that I wouldn’t have even cared to learn about before. Maybe it seems obvious, but through these Netflix films, I feel that I am able to gain a greater insight into topics that interest me and truly understand the value of these streaming services.

Though they are extremely abundant, they are immense in the amount of knowledge you can learn from them. These are great sources of information that you can find out more about beyond the classroom.