HOUR-LONG DOCUMENTARY PREMIERES JULY 30 AT 9 PM ET/PT, MARKING 40th ANNIVERSARY OF THE SON OF SAM MURDERS
Newest Installment Of Critically Acclaimed Franchise Features Rarely Seen Press Conferences And News Footage
NEW YORK, June 27, 2017 – For more than a year, a serial killer known as “Son of Sam” terrorized New York City, killing six people and critically wounding seven others. On July 29, 1976, David Berkowitz began a murder spree that left law enforcement baffled and the public afraid to leave their homes. Forty years after his arrest, the latest installment of Smithsonian Channel’s immersive and critically acclaimed series THE LOST TAPES sets the scene for what would become a national media frenzy in search of an elusive murderer. The ultimate in authentic storytelling, this series features no narration or recreations – just the story as captured by media reports and home videos at the time, including rarely-seen press coverage of the murders and interviews from people who knew Berkowitz. THE LOST TAPES: SON OF SAM premieres Sunday, July 30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Berkowitz had already struck five times before the police were able to confirm that the bizarre shootings were all committed by the same individual, and the documentary features rare press conference footage of Police Commissioner Michael J. Dodd announcing publicly that the murders were connected and carried out using a .44 caliber Charter Arms Bulldog pistol. It wasn’t until Berkowitz struck for the sixth time on April 17, 1977 that he left a note promising to continue killing as the “Son of Sam.” The media ran with the new name, and New York, a city already plagued by a brutal crime wave, was now living in total fear. The “Son of Sam” began sending letters to newspapers describing the bizarre details and motives behind his attacks, and the headlines and notoriety surrounding the “Son of Sam” murders only fueled the flame for an unstable, violent killer.
Berkowitz’s method of stalking the streets at night, murdering brazenly, was incredibly difficult to track, and the NYPD formed a 200-person task force, Operation Omega, to bring him to justice. Attacking young couples in different sections of the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn meant that no neighborhood was safe during his rampage, and police and the public had no idea when or where the “Son of Sam” would strike again. It wasn’t until a resident tipped the police off to a suspicious man on her street the night of his latest attack that any progress in the case was made. After checking every parking ticket issued that night in the area, police got a hit on a 1970 yellow Ford Galaxie, which belonged to David Berkowitz. The “Son of Sam” had finally been captured. THE LOST TAPES: SON OF SAM details the city’s fear and the media’s obsession with a volatile killer, all presented by real-time news reports, video footage and eyewitness accounts during the deadly summers.
The next installment of THE LOST TAPES will air in November 2017, covering the kidnapping of Patty Hearst by the domestic terrorist group the Symbionese Liberation Army, which ended in her arrest in September 1975. Previous installments have included Pearl Harbor and the L.A. Riots.
THE LOST TAPES series is produced by Tom Jennings of 1895 Films, the same team behind the Peabody Award-winning MLK: THE ASSASSINATION TAPES. Executive producers for Smithsonian Channel are David Royle, Charles Poe and John Cavanagh.
Smithsonian Channel™, owned by Smithsonian Networks™, a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution, is where curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease. This is the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing entertainment across multiple platforms. Smithsonian Channel combines the storytelling prowess of SHOWTIME® with the unmatched resources and rich traditions of the Smithsonian, to create award-winning programming that shines new light on popular genres such as air and space, history, science, nature, and pop culture. Among the network’s offerings are series including Aerial America, Million Dollar American Princesses, Polar Bear Town, The Weapon Hunter, The Lost Tapes, Mighty Ships, Mighty Planes and Air Disasters, as well as critically-acclaimed specials that include Building Star Trek, The Unknown Flag Raiser of Iwo Jima, MLK: The Assassination Tapes and The Day Kennedy Died. Smithsonian Networks also operates Smithsonian Earth™, through SN Digital LLC., a new subscription video streaming service delivering spectacular original nature and wildlife content. To learn more, go to www.smithsonianchannel.com, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.