The Keepers

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The Keepers
The Keepers (Netflix series).jpg
Genre Documentary
Directed by Ryan White
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 7
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Ryan White
  • Jessica Hargrave
  • Josh Braun
  • Ben Cotner
  • Jason Spingarn-Koff
  • Lisa Nishimura
  • Matthew Goldberg
  • Brandon Carroll
Location(s) Baltimore, Maryland
Cinematography David Jacobson
John Benam
Editor(s) Kate Amend
Mark Harrison
Helen Kearns
Production company(s) Film 45
Tripod Media
Distributor Netflix
Release
Original network Netflix
Original release May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
External links
Foundation
Netflix

The Keepers is a seven-episode American documentary web series that was released on Netflix on May 19, 2017 and was directed by Ryan White.[1][2][3]

The series explores the unsolved murder of the nun Sister Cathy Cesnik who taught English and drama at Baltimore's Archbishop Keough High School, and her former students' belief that there was a cover-up by authorities after Cesnik suspected that a priest at the school, A. Joseph Maskell, was guilty of sexual abuse.[4][5]

Cast[edit]

  • Gemma Hoskins – former student and investigator
  • Abbie Fitzgerald Schaub – former student and investigator
  • Jean Hargadon Wehner (a.k.a. Jane Doe) – former student
  • Teresa Lancaster (a.k.a. Jane Roe) – former student
  • Randy Lancaster - Teresa Lancaster's husband
  • Donna Von Den Bosch – former student
  • Juliana Farrell – former student
  • Deb Silcox – former student
  • Lil Hughes – former student
  • Chris Centofanti – former student
  • Mary Spence – former student
  • Marilyn Cesnik Radakovic – Sister Catherine's sister
  • Gerry Koob – former priest and sister Catherine's former boyfriend
  • Tom Nugent – journalist and writer for the Baltimore City Paper
  • Bob Erlandson – journalist
  • Beverly Wallace – attorney for former students
  • Alan Horn – investigator
  • John Barnold – former captain, Baltimore City Police Department
  • James Scannell – former captain, Baltimore County Police Department
  • Brian Schwaab – former detective, Baltimore City Police Department
  • Det. Gary Childs – Baltimore County Police
  • Sharon A. H. May – former State's Attorney for Baltimore City
  • Edgar Davidson – possible suspect in the murder of sister Catherine
  • Deborah Yohn – Davidson's niece, who suspects her uncle's involvement in the murders based on anecdotes from her aunt who is referred to as "Margaret" in the series.
  • Sharon Schmidt – daughter of Ronnie Schmidt and niece of Billy Schmidt who suspects the involvement of both men in the murders.
  • Barbara Schmidt – mother of Sharon Schmidt, former wife of Ronnie Schmidt and sister in law to Billy Schmidt, who suspects the involvement of her husband and brother in law in the murders.
  • C.T. Wilson – Maryland state delegate
  • Charles Franz – former student at St. Clement's Church
  • Werner Spitz, MD – forensic pathologist

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleOriginal air date
1"The Murder"May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
Hoskins and Schaub investigate the disappearance and death of Sister Cathy Cesnik and Joyce Malecki in November 1969.
2"The School"May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
The episode reveals the allegations of abuse at Archbishop Keough High School, and the personal story of "Jane Doe" (Jean Hargadon Wehner) and other women at the school. Wehner explains the day Father Maskell took her to see the body of Sister Catherine Cesnik in nearby Lansdowne, Maryland.
3"The Revelation"May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
In 1992, Wehner faces the abuse she endured at Keough allegedly at the hands of Father Maskell and other men he knew (including someone known as "Brother Bob"), as well as the threat that frightened her into silence.
4"The Burial"May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
In 1994, two former students (Wehner and Teresa Lancaster) file a lawsuit against Maskell, the gynecologist they allege witnessed sexual assaults by Maskell, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and the School Sisters of Notre Dame, but face intimidation and power from their lawyers, as well as their psychiatric experts who doubt repressed memories. The lawsuit is thrown out.
5"The Suspects"May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
A tip line created by the group yields two compelling suspects (Edgar Davidson and Billy Schmidt) who may have been involved in Sister Catherine's murder.
6"The Web"May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
Sister Catherine's sister, Marilyn Cesnik Radakovic, joins the cause and discloses additional information about the days leading up to Cathy's disappearance.
7"The Conclusion"May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
The season finale details prior sexual abuse by Father Maskell at Saint Clement's Church known by the Archdiocese, and the legislative efforts to overturn the statute of limitations in Maryland.

Reviews[edit]

The Keepers was met with critical acclaim upon its release. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the series an approval rating of 96% based on 27 reviews, with an average rating of 8.43/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Keepers draws on riveting, real-life terror to expose long-buried secrets—and tells an inspiring, brilliantly assembled story along the way."[6] Pilot Viruet of Vice wrote of the series, "It's harrowing and upsetting, and it will haunt you for a long time, which is part of what makes it necessary viewing."[7]

In Time magazine, Daniel D'Addario compared The Keepers with another Netflix true-crime series, Making a Murderer, stating that The Keepers does not lead its viewers to a definite conclusion about what happened. "While Sister Cathy Cesnik's death remains a mystery, its aftereffects include both crushing heartbreak and, for the amateur sleuths who seek to crack her case, a sense of making a difference... This isn't just more respectful to the victim than other true-crime stories, with their breathless delight at new clues. It's also more effective."[8] According to Jack Seale in The Guardian, "Where other true crime hits have followed a linear chronology, The Keepers hops between 1969, the 1990s and today, striking a fine balance between narrative structure – a wow moment at the end of every episode – and respect for a subject that doesn’t need or deserve sensationalism."[9]

Church response[edit]

The Archdiocese of Baltimore responded to the series by adding a FAQ page to its website, in which it stated allegations that the archdiocese knew of Maskell's sexual abuse prior to 1992 were false speculation.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Busch, Anita (April 19, 2017). "'The Keepers': Netflix Drops Powerful Trailer About Murder Of Baltimore Nun". The Independent. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Is This Netflix Docuseries the Next Making a Murderer?". Vogue. April 19, 2017. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
  3. ^ "'The Keepers' is true crime with a fresh perspective: The victim's". Washington Post. May 20, 2017. Retrieved May 22, 2017. 
  4. ^ Loughrey, Clarisee (April 19, 2017). "The Keepers exclusive trailer: Netflix revisits a nun's unsolved murder five decades down the line". The Independent. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Baltimore archdiocese pays settlements to a dozen people alleging abuse by late priest". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 22 May 2017. 
  6. ^ "The Keepers: Miniseries". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 22, 2018. 
  7. ^ Viruet, Pilot (May 25, 2017). "Netflix's Latest True Crime Docuseries Will Haunt You Forever". Vice. Retrieved June 19, 2017. 
  8. ^ D’Addario, Daniel (May 25, 2017). "The Keepers avoids true crime's ghastliest pitfalls". Time. Retrieved June 19, 2017. 
  9. ^ Seale, Jack (18 May 2017). "Who murdered Sister Cathy? Netflix takes true crime to the next level". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  10. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions Based on "The Keepers"". Archdiocese of Baltimore. Retrieved June 19, 2017. 

External links[edit]