John Wayne Gacy, one of the world’s most notorious serial killers who famously posed a clown to lure his victims, is the subject of Peacock’s chilling six-part true-crime documentary, Devil in Disguise. The series features a previously unreleased, multi-hour interview conducted with Gacy from prison as well as new interviews with one of his closest confidantes and his second ex-wife.
Known as the “Killer Clown,” Gacy murdered 33 boys -- most of them teenagers -- inside his ranch house near Norridge, Illinois, between 1972 and 1978, before an investigation into the disappearance of a Des Plaines teenager led to his arrest.
While convicted of 33 murders, it’s believed by many that Gacy, who was sentenced to death and died in 1994, is responsible for more unsolved murders or disappearances.
“One of the most compelling reasons to revisit this story is that there's just still so many unanswered questions about the case,” executive producer Alexa Danner tells ET. “There's still so much mystery that lingers even to this day.”
And with the docuseries, the goal was to tell a comprehensive and balanced story that not only dives into the psychology of Gacy as well as his criminal history, but also gives a voice to the victims. “Those are the folks that suffered the most at Gacy’s hands,” Danner says, adding that the series spans over 50 years and features interviews with attorneys, law enforcement, reporters as well as family members of victims, Gregory Godzik, John Szyc and Jeffrey Rignall.
But what sets Devil in Disguise apart from past scripted and unscripted retellings of Gacy’s story is that the docuseries features the killer on camera thanks to footage provided by Craig Bowley, who corresponded with him while he was in prison. “The footage itself is obviously haunting, but it’s also confounding, because you watch Gacy over the course of three-and-a-half hours tell one version of events, do a total about face in the next moment and never bat an eyelash,” Danner says.
She adds that he “alternates between fact and fiction without any hesitation.”
While Gacy is featured on-camera, he doesn’t get the final word, with many of those interviewed and the series itself raising important questions about the notorious killer: Did he have more victims? Did he have help luring and killing those boys? Did other people know about his crimes? And could he have been stopped sooner?
Watching this, Danner says, raises so many red flags about Gacy and people like him. “They walk amongst us and they’re not always recognizable.”
Trailer and Clip:
ET has an exclusive preview (in the video above) of interviews with law enforcement, retired detective Rafael Tovar, retired police officers David Hachmeister and Michael Albrecht, who arrested and booked Gacy at the time, recounting how unsettling he was, especially the way he smiled in his mugshot. “[It was] strange to me,” Tovar recalls.