Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez
IMDb rating: 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 78%
In 2013, the career of the NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez came to an abrupt end when he was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional footballer who was dating Hernandez’s fiancee’s sister.
Hernandez was convicted of Lloyd’s murder in 2015, and while on trial he was also indicted in connection with a 2012 double homicide in which two men were shot after Hernandez’s car pulled up alongside them.
And in 2017, Hernandez’s body was found in his jail cell, where he’d taken his own life. The autopsy showed the severe injuries to Hernandez’s brain, known as football-related chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Experts believe that these injuries would undoubtedly have influenced Hernandez’s behaviour, though the role of CTE has been downplayed by others – most notably, in the documentary, by Patriots owner Robert Kraft – despite the fact that Hernandez’s brain was found to have the most severe CTE injuries ever seen in a 27-year-old.
Shortly before his death, after Hernandez was acquitted of the 2012 double homicide, speculations about his sexuality swirled in the press and on social media.
There have been a number of documentaries, podcasts and print series about Hernandez’s rise and demise, but this new Netflix docuseries offers brand-new material, including recordings of phone calls Hernandez made from jail in the days leading up to his death. It touches on his sexuality, the effects of CTE on footballers’ mental states, and Hernandez’s troubled childhood.
The Boston Globe calls this docuseries, “The finest video documentary yet on the Hernandez tragedy”, while Salon.com says that, though it fails to offer a single compelling reason for Hernandez’s crime(s) and his death, the documentary mirrors Hernandez himself: “Much like the documentary itself, with its disparate amalgam of voices offering conjecture about the player’s life, Hernandez was a sum of his pieces.”