The Keepers is an exhaustive real-crime documentary series about the murder of a nun in 1969, but also so much more. It’s the story about victims and their search for justice. It’s about giving them a chance to be heard over the loud denials of any and every official body.
In November 1969, a young nun, Sister Cathy Cesnik, went missing from her Baltimore apartment. The following year she was discovered, lying on her back on a frozen hillside, far from home, her skull was broken in. No one has been able to conclusively say what happened to her until now.
In the series, we see interviews of key witnesses, police, local journalists and a few members of the church, and a group of dedicated sixtysomething former pupils of Sister Cathy, who band together to find out what happened.
What begins as a cold case unfolds into a horrific tale of systematic abuse, repressed memory and institutional rank-closing from the church, police and state prosecution department. In the version of events, no one is directly to blame, save for the obvious villain , Father Maskell, student counsellor at Archbishop Keough school, who inflicted years of sexual abuse on his students. Every attempt to indict him is deflected because – according to some victims – the police and even a local doctor were complicit.
Was Maskell, undeniably an appalling character, connected to Cesnik’s death? Are the witnesses everything they seem? Is this story less one of a murder and more of the cover-up that followed?
Let me know your thoughts on Netflix’s docu-series, The Keeper.