Because of the audience mystery — the killer’s identity — the dialogue is often clunky, teetering between revealing too little and too much, talking circles around the murderer’s name. But even outside of that, the dialogue is easily the show’s worst offense. At times, it’s stunted and half-written. Other times, it’s as if the writer (Jamie Crawford, also the director) suddenly remembered this show was fiction, rather than a straight-up docu-series, and threw in an exchange that might happen in a typical crime thriller TV series — “She likes you!” one detective randomly quips to another when a female detective leaves the room. Later, when she is going over the serial killer’s profile and describing why women are so attracted to him — he’s magnetic, charming, witty — she pauses to add, “Women like that. I like that.” It’s so awkward and clumsy that it caused me to burst out laughing, which was certainly not the line’s intention.
Still, there is something to admire about Serial Thriller, particularly its inventiveness in building a whole story — the detectives, the victims, the residents in the town — around a real person, and trying to do so within only three episodes. (Any other network would stretch this out to a ten-episode limited series.) When viewing Angel of Decay as a trial run, it’s easy to forgive the more terrible bits and stay curious about where it will go. I will, unapologetically, watch the third and final episode when it airs, and hope that if Serial Thriller continues, the network learns to work out the kinks.