"The Serpent" Series Review: Makes Me Afraid To Ever Travel Again - GMonsterTV

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"The Serpent" Series Review: Makes Me Afraid To Ever Travel Again

"The Serpent" is an eight part series co-produced jointly by BBC One and NetFlix. The series is based on real life serial killer Charles Sobhraj-- full name Hatchand Bhaonani Gurumukh Charles Sobhraj. He is accused of killing at least 12 people beginning in the 1970s-- but the number is suspected of being much higher) Most were young Western tourists along what was called the "Hippy Trail" in Southeast Asia (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal).

The NetFlix series features Tahar Rahim as Sobhraj. Jenna Coleman plays his girlfriend/wife/secretary Marie Andree Lecler (AKA Monique). Amesh Edireweera plays Aja Chrowdhury. Sobhraj has a strange hold over both people and draws them in closer and closer the more crimes they commit. 

Herman (a Dutch diplomat) and Angela Knippenberg (his German wife) are played by Billy Howle and Ellie Bamber. They gradually piece together the disappearances and discover Sobhraj is responsible. Interestingly, Angela Knippenberg (later Angela Kane) went on to become the UN Under Secretary General. She is reported to have been disappointed with the show diminishing her involvement in solving the crimes. 

One of the problems with "The Serpent" is it's not told in chronological order. The story crisscrosses backwards and forwards through time and among various countries. Sobhraj's central hub is Bangkok but with all the jumping around I'm not sure if it's their first time in the city, their last time or what. Sobhraj also steals the identities of everyone he kills. Then he, Marie and Aja head to the next destination. This combined with their propensity to change identities makes them especially hard to track.   

We learn a little about Sobhraj's background when he visits his mother. To say their relationship is frosty would be a major understatement. He is of mixed Vietnamese and Indian ancestry. His father abandoned the family when Charles was small. His mother (Tran Loan Phung) later remarried a French lieutenant and moved the family to Paris. His mother warns Lecler that Charles will never settle down. She says he is responsible for the imprisonment of his half brother after getting him involved in some scheme. We also see what happened with his first wife (Julliette) and their child. He's definitely not husband or father material.   

Sobhraj IRL is known as the Bikini Killer, the Splitting Kiiler or The Serpent (hence the name of the series).He mainly killed for financial reasons (stealing the money, jewelry, ad passports of those he encountered). He was in jail in India for some 21 years. Charles then "retired' to Paris (he is a French citizen) where he welcomed publicity and charged considerable amounts of money for interviews. For some reason (which no one understands), in 2003 Sobhraj returned to Nepal where he was apprehended. He is now 77 and is currently serving a life sentence. He is reported to be in few poor health having had several surgeries.    

Grade: 4 1/2 Monsters (out of 5). "The Serpent" tells the shocking story of IRL serial killer Charles Sobhraj as he offed a number of tourists in the 1970s. The actor playing Charles (Tahar Rahim) is excellent. He's just the right amount of menacing and charming. "The Serpent's" costumes and international settings are beautiful. My only complaints about the show are: 1. The time jumps back and forth are very confusing. Why not do a linear series instead? and 2. The ending dragged a bit. All in all though, it is an excellent series though So much so that I watched it twice. Make sure you stick around till the end of the final episode. It tells where all the main characters are today.  


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TV: Heavy On Sci Fi, Horror & Fantasy; Light On Reality

May 9, 2021

"The Serpent" Series Review: Makes Me Afraid To Ever Travel Again Reviewed by GMonsterTV on 5:16 PM Rating: 5 "The Serpent" is an eight part series co-produced jointly by BBC One and NetFlix. The series  is based on real life serial killer ...

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