Premieres Sunday, July 30 at 9 PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel™
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.