#FIRSTLOOK: “CATCHING A SERIAL KILLER: BRUCE MCARTHUR”
By Mr. Will Wong
The 2018 capture of Bruce McArthur helped alleviate much anxiety that haunted not only Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community, but also a nation as it became known that a serial killer targeting the Church-Wellesley village was on the loose and unaccounted for. Despite a guilty plea to eight counts of murder, one thing that the public couldn’t quite reconcile was how an unsuspecting 66-year-old landscaper and sometimes Mall Santa could be capable of such gruesome acts.
While Documentary Catching a Serial Killer: Bruce McArthur got its premiere earlier this month in the U.S., the story returns home to Canada with the Film set to premiere on SuperChannel. We certainly haven’t forgotten about McArthur‘s crimes, which have left an indelible scar on the community. The Film dares to ask the question how it was so many victims quietly and anonymously began disappearing for so many years, bringing into the conversation the question of race and ethnicity of his victims, a majority who were of Middle-Eastern or South Asian descent and closeted. It was his final victim Andrew Kinsman, a Caucasian man, whose disappearance drew police closer to their target.
While the Film attempts to paint a portrait of the Serial Killer through expert analysis and commentary, ultimately we don’t get that extra layer of insight from the criminal himself like recent features on the similar topics like Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer. What the Film does do well is compile a panel of subjects who offer their analysis of McArthur and his crimes like University of Toronto Criminologist Jooyoung Lee, who makes some sense how McArthur‘s very unassuming professions served to mask his secret dark behaviours. One of the most compelling subjects is an ex-lover who was lucky enough to make it out alive after nearly being choked to death by McArthur. There’s also Karen Fraser who employed McArthur as a landscaper before the grisly discovery that among some of his victims’ body parts might have been stored at among others, her home. She tried convincing the police he was innocent because she couldn’t believe what he was being accused of. And there’s also Toronto Police’s Hank Idsinga and Lead Investigator David Dickinson, who recount for us the painstaking journey gathering evidence, ultimately to having overwhelming evidence (6,000+ pages) finding their man.
There are things about the investigation that have never seen the light of day and perhaps it is best kept that way. The victims, families and the community have been through enough. Catching a Serial Killer: Bruce McArthur brings some needed closure to something that has been deeply unsettling, even long after the crime was solved. And if anything, McArthur‘s victims have a voice in all this after having lived their lives in the dark.
The 90-minute Documentary airs in Canada Friday, April 30 at 9 p.m. ET on Super Channel Fuse and is available via Super Channel On Demand the next day.