Ask any American about Jeffrey Dahmer, and the vast majority would be able to mention something about the infamous serial killer. Could the same be said about Glenda Cleveland? The unsung hero in the Dahmer case is getting the attention she deserves in Netflix’s Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. Portrayed by Emmy winner Niecy Nash, Glenda was the persistent neighbor who continuously alerted police about Dahmer’s mysterious actions in his apartment. Despite playing such a pivotal role in bringing down Dahmer (Evan Peters), Glenda’s story took a backseat until now, and Nash understood the gravity of bringing her story to life.
“When you hear the different things that happened with regards to Jeffrey Dahmer and his victims, Glenda was one of his victims, too, and her story has been told the least,” said Nash in an interview with Netflix. “Heavy is the head that wears the crown to tell this story, specifically through Glenda’s lens as it had never been done before. So that comes with a lot of responsibility because you want to make sure you get it right.”
Throughout the series, Glenda suspects foul play from her neighbor, confronting Dahmer about a horrific smell coming from his apartment. When Glenda alerts the authorities about her suspicions in regards to Dahmer, the police ignore her warnings, allowing a sick individual to continue murdering innocent young men. Glenda’s continued efforts to warn the authorities about Dahmer fall by the wayside as racism and homophobia surround the entire situation.
In a particularly moving scene, Glenda attends the wake of a victim she tried to help. Despite Glenda’s pleas, the police allowed Dahmer to walk the young boy back into his apartment, where he would die shortly after. Glenda’s guilt swallows her up, and she lets the family know about her regrets, wishing she could have done more. It’s this level of compassion that makes Glenda an exceptional human, something that Nash hopes will stick with viewers.
“I want people to know that Glenda Cleveland was special. That was a special woman,” said Nash. “To continue on and on and on in an effort to get someone to do something, she deserved way more than a little cheesy plaque in the bottom of a social hall somewhere. She deserved way more than the police to step in front of her and say, ‘Look what we did. Look what we tried to do.'”
Created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story chronicles Dahmer’s murders through the eyes of the victims. Alongside Peters and Nash, Richard Jenkins, Molly Ringwald, and Michael Learned co-star. Dahmer is one of Netflix’s most-watched series of 2022, with 196.2 million people tuning in since its debut on September 21.
Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is now streaming on Netflix.
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