the Jeffrey Dahmer Story’ on Netflix

Niecy Nash plays Glenda Cleveland, the Milwaukee woman who tried to get police to investigate her neighbor, Jeffrey Dahmer, in the new Netflix series "Dahmer. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story."

The 10-part miniseries “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” that landed on Netflix on Sept. 21 features a number of moments pulled from original reporting about the horrific murders perpetrated by Dahmer over several years and discovered in July 1991. 

Was everything in the show as it happened, or were some details glossed over a bit? As any fan of true-crime television will tell you, “based on a true story” can often mean a wide range of interpretation of the facts. 

This particular series played things pretty faithfully to the reported information, though there were a couple notable story beats that diverted from reality.

(Reviews of the series have thus far been mixed.)

With the guide of original reporting from the Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Sentinel, as well as former Journal reporter Anne E. Schwartz’s book on the topic (“Monster: The True Story of the Jeffrey Dahmer Murders”), here’s a look at the fact and fiction of each episode.

Warning: Some details may be unsettling to readers, and these details will reveal the events of the series. 


Glenda Cleveland, a witness who questioned police action in the Konerak Sinthasomphone incident, watches news reports on the dismissal of the officers involved. With her is her daughter, Sandra Smith, and her grandson, Andrew.

Glenda Cleveland didn’t live in the Oxford Apartments building

One of the biggest changes to real events is the character of Glenda Cleveland (Niecy Nash). In the show, she lives adjacent to Jeffrey Dahmer (Evan Peters), who resides in apartment 213 in the Oxford Apartments on 25th Street in Milwaukee.

The real-life Cleveland lived in a building next door. It seems likely that the show attempted to amalgamate Cleveland and neighbor Pamela Bass into one character. It’s Bass who said that Dahmer made sandwiches for others in the building, which becomes the subject of an unsettling exchange between the Dahmer and Cleveland characters later in the show.

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