| 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.

Things heat up for our jailhouse informer in Black Bird [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★


Black Bird recap: Things are not going well for prison informer Jimmy Keene (played by Taron Egerton).★★★★
Things are not going well for prison informer Jimmy Keene (played by Taron Egerton).
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ miniseries Black Bird finally reveals the killer this week, along with the evidence that might hang him … or might not be enough to do anything but frustrate the people working to expose him.

Superlative work from actors Paul Walter Hauser, Ray Liotta and Laney Stiebing in the episode, titled “The Place I Lie,” pulls the show into greatness just before its final installment.

Black Bird covered a lot of ground in a little time — and now it’s time to bring it home.

It’s time to come clean on Black Bird [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★☆


Black Bird recap: Cleanup duty leads to compelling revelations.★★★★☆
Cleanup duty leads to compelling revelations.
Photo: Apple TV+

Black Bird, the Apple TV+ drama about a bad guy sent to ferret out a worse guy in the rottenest jail in America, takes a turn for the confessional this week. Probable serial killer Larry Hall and police informer Jimmy Keene tell each other some truths and some lies as they clean up the mess after a prison riot.

Larry starts to see the hidden side of Jimmy. And Jimmy starts to recognize the worst parts of himself — the ones that remind him of Larry. Black Bird’s been in a good place for two and a half episodes, and this latest one finds the show indulging in its strengths for an extended conversation between the two leads.