Boston Strangler Ending Explained – was the Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo?

By Emma Vine
Published: March 18, 2023 (Last updated: December 14, 2023)

We discuss the ending of the Hulu 2023 film Boston Strangler which will contain spoilers.

In 1962, Boston was in turmoil as a serial killer, later named the Boston Strangler, was at large. The infamous murderer would pose as a handyman to enter women’s apartments before brutally murdering them.

Over the next two years, 13 innocent women became victims of the monstrous killer while the city pushed to uncover the man’s identity. Loretta, a reporter for the Record American newspaper, believed the murders were linked and, along with her coworker Jean, would go on to break the story on one of the most perplexing true-crime cases to date.

Boston Strangler Ending Explained

Why does Detective DeLine from Michigan State Police call Loretta?

In 1965, three years after the first Boston Strangler murder, six women were brutally murdered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Detective DeLine, who is working on the case, calls Loretta, as the nature of each crime mimics that of the Boston Strangler, and no one knows the case better than her. While on the phone, DeLine asks Loretta if she still thinks DeSalvo is responsible for the murders.

Loretta travels to Michigan to see DeLine, who lets her look at the crime scene photos, and she notices that the murders are almost identical to that of the Boston Strangler. After seeing Daniel Marsh in the local newspaper, which confirms that he is, in fact, in Michigan, Loretta tells DeLine how convinced she is that he is involved in the Boston Strangler killings, as the Boston Strangler killed his ex-girlfriend. DeLine, agrees and tells Loretta that, off the record, he is their prime suspect for the recent killings.

Who was Harrison, and why did Loretta meet him?

After DeSalvo’s death, Loretta visits the prison to see if she can learn more about what happened to him. While in attendance, she is handed a piece of paper by a woman with an address on it. The gentleman whose address is listed is named Harrison, and he attended Bridgewater with DeSalvo.

When visiting Harrison, it is revealed that Daniel Marsh, Albert DeSalvo, and George Nassar attended Bridgewater simultaneously. Marsh and Nassar helped coach DeSalvo on the Boston Strangler murders and his confession.

DeSalvo was willing to confess because Nassar’s lawyer, F. Lee Bailey, promised DeSalvo that if he took responsibility for the crimes, he could get him a book deal that would earn him a million dollars and make him rich and famous. As DeSalvo had a family to care for, he agreed, understanding that Nassar and Marsh would also receive reward money.

Loretta later visits Nassar in prison and confirms that with every confession DeSalvo made, there was an agreement that he would receive reward money. Regardless of being identified in a witness lineup as the Boston Strangler, Nassar is adamant that he never murdered any women and that DeSalvo convinced him he was responsible for the crimes.

READ: How did the Boston Strangler die? Albert DeSalvo’s Death Explained

Nassar tells Loretta that Boston needed DeSalvo to be the murderer because the thought of other copycats out there was too big a burden for the city to bear.

Was Albert DeSalvo the Boston Strangler?

Though it was never confirmed that DeSalvo murdered all the women in the Boston Strangler case, he confessed to assistant General Attorney John Bottomley that he was behind the heinous killings. The issue, however, is that he couldn’t answer specific questions regarding some of the crimes, such as the color of the robe one of the victims wore the night of her murder and the layout of her apartment.

Loretta listens to the recordings of his confession and believes that Bottomley was showing DeSalvo crime scene photos during his interviews to help him lie.

She later visits Albert’s brother Richard and tries to convince him to get Albert to contact her from prison, as she believes there is more to his story. Albert calls Loretta and invites her to meet with him at the prison the next day for an in-person discussion, but after their phone call concludes, Albert is murdered, and the meeting with Loretta never takes place.

Was there more than one Boston Strangler killer?

Though it was never confirmed, Boston Strangler implies that there could have been more than one Boston Strangler. At the film’s end, Loretta explains her theory that many men during that time were Boston Strangler copycats and made their crimes look like the work of the infamous serial killer in order to get away with murder.

Though the most likely conclusion to the case is that DeSalvo was, in fact, the Boston Strangler, there are still so many unanswered questions, such as why a witness in a lineup identified George Nassar as the strangler or why DeSalvo couldn’t answer specific questions during his confession pertaining to the crime scene.

At the film’s close, we learn that Daniel Marsh was never charged with any of the murders, but in 2013, DNA did link DeSalvo to the 13th murder. To this day, the rest of the murders remain unsolved.

What did you think of the ending of the Hulu 2023 film Boston Strangler? Comment below.

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