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For better or for worse, tons of people watched Dahmer: Monster—The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

Ryan Murphy's new limited series for Netflix had one of the streamer's biggest debuts since switching to a new data-reporting system

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Evan Peters in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
Evan Peters in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
Image: Netflix

There’s just something about a Hollywood heartthrob playing a serial killer that, whether it disgusts or fascinates, draws eyes. Ryan Murphy’s latest Netflix joint, the Evan Peters-led Dahmer: Monster—The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, is no exception to this rule—despite robust online debates about its very existence.

The limited series has reported 196.2M hours watched since its September 21 debut, surpassing Inventing Anna’s 195.97M opening, per Deadline. This ranks Monster among Netflix’s most successful original offerings since the streamer changed its data-reporting system in June 2021. Now, the series’, well, monster numbers only fall short of four of Netflix’s biggest originals in that time period: Squid Game, All of Us Are Dead, season four of Stranger Things, and season two of Bridgerton.

Monster is far from Murphy’s first project with Netflix, but it’s difficult to compare debuts given the changes in the streamer’s reporting system. However, Deadline estimates that regardless of method, Monster is likely far bigger than Murphy’s other Netflix series: 2019's The Politician, 2020's Ratched and Hollywood, and 2021's Halston.

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Although the series has clearly gained plenty of traction, not all the feedback has been positive. In a searing essay for Insider, Rita Isbell, the sister of Dahmer victim Errol Lindsey, expresses her discontent with the series. Isbell, whose emotional impact statement at Dahmer’s 1992 sentencing hearing is meticulously recreated in the series, says Netflix never reached out to her and her family about the project.

“The victims have children and grandchildren,” Isbell writes. “If the show benefited them in some way, it wouldn’t feel so harsh and careless. It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed.” Although the odds are maddeningly low, here’s hoping some of the cash flow Monster’s viewership will certainly generate goes back to the families of the people Dahmer harmed.