| Cult of Mac

Black Bird’s prime directive: Giving serial killers the finger


Paul Walter Hauser playing serial killer Larry Hall in Black Bird on Apple TV+.
Paul Walter Hauser lit up Black Bird with his depiction of suspected serial killer Larry Hall.
Photo: Apple TV+

BOSTON — Before he put pen to paper and gave us violent sagas of lowlife P.I.s and desperate criminals, Dennis Lehane used to deliver flowers to a hospital next door to the Liberty Hotel. Now the novelist, who acted as writer and showrunner for the brilliant Apple TV+ miniseries Black Bird, is sitting here in the Liberty, so named because of its former vocation: a prison.

It’s an appropriate setting. Black Bird tells the true story of Jimmy Keene, a prison informant who risked his life to nail a serial killer. (The series is based on Keene’s autobiographical novel, In With the Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption.)

Lehane and his chilling Black Bird star Paul Walter Hauser sat down with Cult of Mac and other journalists recently to discuss their critically acclaimed Apple TV+ show, which is racking up nominations as awards season gets underway. If Black Bird’s outstanding cast and crew receive the recognition they deserve, the show stands a good chance of picking up a handful of awards — and adding to the growing glow of prestige programming on Apple TV+. (Update: Hauser won the Golden Globe on Tuesday night for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.)

In the group interview, Lehane and Hauser talked motivation, working conditions and seeing into the mind of a psychopath, among other things.

Apple TV+ Black Bird trailer tries to buddy up to a serial killer


Taron Egerton ends up in jail in
Taron Egerton ends up in jail in Black Bird. But if he just does this one, incredibly hellish thing ...
Photo: Apple TV+

Say things went sideways and you somehow ended up in prison, sentenced to 10 years. But authorities offer you freedom if you do just one thing for them. Transfer to a super-max facility for the criminally insane. Befriend a serial killer who may soon get out. And get him to confess more of his crimes.

Would you do it?

If the trailer for Apple TV+ psychological thriller series Black Bird is any indication, maybe don’t do it. That thing, promoting a true story brought to the screen by crime novelist Dennis Lehane, looks brutal — and potentially riveting.