Is the Jeffrey Dahmer series on Netflix accurate?

Here's what's fact vs. fiction

Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer
(Image credit: Netflix © 2022)

Is the Jeffrey Dahmer series on Netflix accurate?

Countless viewers have watched Evan Peters transform into the role of the disgraced figure, but where has the streaming service taken liberties with its  fictionalized retelling? Surely there must be a few discrepancies throughout the new Ryan Murphy series.

While yes, some details are altered slightly to suit Netflix's take on the string of crimes, it is in fact, an accurate portrayal of the serial killer's story. Dahmer's actions are akin to a real-life horror movie—but far more disturbing—which is perhaps why people have questioned fact from fiction.

Here are a few instances where Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story altered details.


Is the Jeffrey Dahmer series on Netflix accurate?

Glenda Cleveland

Niecy Nash as Glenda Cleveland in episode 107 of Dahmer. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

(Image credit: Netflix © 2022)

Yes, Cleveland was a real part of the story and a crucial part in having Dahmer caught by authorities. In real life, she wasn't his next-door neighbor, as the new series suggests. She had lived in an apartment complex nearby. Dahmer's actual neighbor, Pamela Bass, also caught on to his wrongdoings. 

Officers Balcerzak and Gabrish

A big moment in the series is when two policemen are called to Dahmer's apartment on Cleveland's behalf. She had witnessed a young man—which turned out to be 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone—outside of the building, naked and incoherent. Cleveland and her family had tried to prove that something was horribly wrong, yet the cops ultimately believed Dahmer's lie that the two "lovers" were involved in a quarrel. 

In the Netflix adaptation, Officers Balcerzak and Gabrish are given the title of "Office of the Year," when in fact Glenda's efforts—with the assistance of Reverend Jesse Jackson—helped get the two briefly suspended.

Ronald Flowers

Flowers was one of the fortunate survivors of Dahmer's brutal actions. 

In the series, after Flowers' car breaks down, Dahmer escorts him to his grandmother's home and insists that he will help him get back up and running. What he does instead was drug him and attempt to kill him. Dahmer's grandmother intervenes and insists Flowers get medical attention, likely his saving grace. He woke up in the hospital, disoriented and lucky to be alive, and found ligature mark around his neck and signs of sexual assault. 

Flowers in real life has chosen to remain quiet, but did speak in a 2012 documentary, Jeffrey Dahmer: Mind of a Monster, where he admits that the whole experience was "sheer terror."

In the show, Dahmer and Flowers cross paths after their initial meeting, and Flowers insists to a companion of Dahmer's that he's "crazy." It's not clear whether this encounter actually happened in real life.  

Dean Vaughn

Vaughn was an actual neighbor's of Dahmer's, but the series seems to suggest that Dahmer took his life. Vaughn was found strangled in his apartment in 1991, and to this day it remains an unsolved murder.

Jeffrey Dahmer's glasses

Although Peters appears in court wearing the signature specks in the Netflix series, Dahmer for the most part did not have his eyewear on in his actual court case, allegedlly because he didn't want to face victims' families.

Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is now streaming on Netflix. The three-part docu-series, Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes, will arrive on Netflix on October 7

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.