The Lesson Is Murder Review – a morbid exploration into the mind of a killer

By Emma Vine
Published: March 24, 2023 (Last updated: January 21, 2024)
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The Lesson is Murder is a gripping docuseries that takes viewers on a psychological journey into the mind of a killer while considering the factors that led each convicted felon to commit their heinous crimes.

We review the Hulu true crime documentary series The Lesson Is Murder, released on March 23, 2023.

There’s something to be said about a mystery, and while the subject matter of true crime is morbid, it continues to fascinate many. Hulu’s docuseries The Lesson Is Murder explores the psychological profiles of murderers.

Though we may not understand what goes on inside the mind of a killer, viewers get a closer look at the factors that may have led each convicted felon to commit their crimes.

The Lesson Is Murder Review

Produced by ABC News Studios, the three-episode docuseries follows psychological criminologist Dr. Bryanna Fox, a former FBI special agent who teaches criminology at the University of South Florida.

Alongside five of her top graduate students, Fox revisits old cases and analyzes each killer’s behavioral patterns and personality traits to determine their motives for the crimes and to help solve future cases.

Among the team are The Legal Strategist (Jordan Teuber), The Analyst (Jacquie Burckley), The Victimologist (Vanessa Centelles), The Skeptic (Xavier Burch), and The Data Specialist (Nate Lawshe), all of whom have their specialties, and play a vital role in the reinvestigation of the crimes.

The cases depicted in the series are that of nurse turned serial killer Will Davis, who killed four patients while working at a hospital; Robert Fratta, a former cop who had his ex-wife and the mother of his children killed in a murder-for-hire plot; and Ivié DeMolina, who was convicted for the death of two men during an armed robbery.

In each episode, with just under 60 minutes of runtime, interviews occur with the convicted felons’ former coworkers, friends, the victim’s family members, and even the killers themselves. Viewers are given detailed accounts of the circumstances surrounding the murders, and you can’t help but ask yourself one question when hearing the gruesome details of each case.

What drove Will, Robert, and Ivié to murder?

One interesting aspect of the crimes presented in The Lesson Is Murder is how each killer had significantly different upbringings and life circumstances. Whether bullied as a child, struggling financially during adulthood, or coming to terms with a divorce, Fox and her criminologists thoroughly analyze significant life events that took place before the crimes were committed.

READ: Where is Ivié DeMolina now?

Some facts surrounding the cases and footage shared are hard to watch, but the docuseries doesn’t keep the audience in the dark regarding rehashing the details.

Seeing the victims’ families discuss losing their loved ones is devastating. Still, I respect The Lesson Is Murder, giving some insight into the victims’ lives as opposed to each episode focusing solely on the killer.

The docuseries also shows Fox interviewing each felon in prison, allowing them to voice their side of the story. Their explanation of events is later compared to the evidence gathered during the investigation.

In some instances, the former FBI special agent hopes to obtain a confession, with one killer still insisting on his innocence. It’s fascinating to see some murderers be so open about their crimes while others stick to manipulation tactics and show no remorse nor take any accountability.

The only drawback of the docuseries is how some moments felt scripted and staged, particularly the team of criminologists. While I understand that the investigations explored in the series are led by Fox, who has trained the students in the field, there were moments when opinions expressed by her graduate students felt more like rehearsed lines than authentic statements.

Still, the presentation of each crime was gripping enough to keep me engaged as a viewer.

Is The Lesson Is Murder good?

The Lesson Is Murder is a worthy true crime addition to Hulu. Each case draws the viewer in by delving into the psychology behind each killer and what may have led Will, Robert, and Ivié to commit murder.

If you find deep dives into human behavior enticing and like to unveil all the details of criminal cases, this will be one to add to your watchlist.

What did you think of the Hulu true crime documentary series The Lesson Is Murder? Comment below.

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