Chilling ‘Grindr killer’ TV drama Four Lives concludes, highlighting police failures
BBC drama Four Lives, depicting the chilling events surrounding Stephen Port, the ‘Grindr killer’ concluded last night and brought home to a mainstream audience the dangers LGBTQ+ people have always faced.
Actor Stephen Merchant portrays the murderer, who was incarcerated for a rare full life sentence in 2016, with a spooky calm that belies the malice beneath, taking advantage of young gay men in the worst possible way.
The primetime show lays out terminology and casual drug use in a way that we are all too familiar with, often in graphic detail. It’s expertly handled with not a stereotype in sight and any murmurs of how Port should have been played by a gay person understandably muted.
Alongside the crimes of Port, the mishandling by the police in Barking (where the murders took place) is held up as almost as bad as the events themselves with blame for 3 of the 4 murders laid squarely at the feet of the officers involved in the initial investigations who refused to put two and two together and realise there was a gay serial killer at large.
These are events that could have happened to ANY of us and only goes to cement the fact that we need to be vigilant when it comes to safety when using dating apps. In a crushing moment, the father of one of the murdered men (who was bisexual but not out) questions whether his son would even have put himself in the situation had he felt comfortable enough to be honest with his family about his sexuality.
You can stream all episodes now on iPlayer or via services that carry BBC shows where you are. It’s well worth your time but be warned, it is as upsetting as it is frustrating.