Review: The Keepers Season 1

By Anisha Koilpillai

I just finished watching Netflix's original series The Keepers. I got drawn into it because I saw articles on Facebook touting it as a show similar to Making a Murderer. I enjoyed that show, so I figured that I should check out The Keepers. Let me tell you, I was not prepared for that wild ride. 

The Keepers  looks into the unsolved murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik in 1969. ( photo credit )

The Keepers looks into the unsolved murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik in 1969. (photo credit)

The documentary itself was very well done. It is clear that a lot of effort was put into this, including years of research on the director's part. The Keepers looks into the unsolved murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik in Baltimore in 1969. The nun was formerly a teacher at Keough High School before she left the covenant in September 1969. She went missing November 1969; her body was found January 1970.

The burning question of the whole documentary is who killed Sister Cathy? Two of her former students have led the charge in discovering just what happened to Sister Cathy. Together, they reveal that there was sexual abuse of many of the girls at Keough. The documentary interviews some of the victims at the high school. They recount their abuse as the hand of the Chaplain, Father Maskell. 

As the documentary develops, it becomes clear to the audience that Father Maskell was involved in the murder. One of the students, commonly referred as Jane Doe in the show, had revealed to Sister Cathy of the abuse she suffered at the hands of Father Maskell. Shortly after, Cathy disappears.

Father Maskell abused several girls (and altar boys) during his time in Baltimore ( photo credit )

Father Maskell abused several girls (and altar boys) during his time in Baltimore (photo credit)

After watching this, there is no doubt in my mind that Maskell was involved in the murder. There are so many witnesses that have placed Maskell's involvement at the forefront of the investigation. Maskell is now dead, but it is clear to me that there should be some sort of formal announcement of his involvement somehow by authorities. 

Maskell had a terrible ring of abuse within the church. At times, he even brought outsiders involved, including police officers, in the rape of these high school girls. Maskell was an absolutely revolting man who even admitted to a friend that he thought he was acting in the name of God with the rape.

One thing about the show that I wished they had added were some sort of trigger warning before episodes that talked about rape. Do not get me wrong; I know just how important it is for these women to talk about what they remember and what these stories do to show just how dangerous Maskell was. However, I wonder how those who have gone through similar things might feel. I cannot talk about myself, for I have never gone through anything like that. However, it was still very difficult for me to hear all about this, although I do feel like I needed to hear about it. But what about those who are more vulnerable to those talks? Of course, this is just my opinion.

Overall, this show was very well done. Sister Cathy Cesnik was just a young woman trying to do the right things and protect her students. That much is clear to me. She died trying to end the abuse against her students. These women are right to see her as a role model. I can only imagine just how much of an impact she had on those young girls.