Lost Girls is a Netflix film directed by Liz Garbus and inspired by Robert Kolker’s book Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery. The story revolves around Mari Gilbert (Amy Ryan), a mother who searches for her missing daughter and discovers that he was one of the victims of a series of unsolved murders. The story is based on the real-life case of a Long Island serial killer who is believed to have murdered ten to sixteen sex workers over 20 years and was never caught.
The lost girls begin with Shannan Gilbert (Sarah Wiser), the 24-year-old girl and the eldest of three daughters of Mari Gilbert. Shannan grew up in and out of foster homes since he was 12 but always kept in touch with his family and even helped him with money. Mari knew that her daughter was leading a troubled life, but she needed the money and accepted it without question. After Shanan’s disappearance, Mari begins her search after learning that the police were not interested in searching for the missing sex worker and discovers that Shanan is not the only girl who has gone missing.
Based on Shanan Gilbert’s real-life disappearance and her mother’s search for her, the lost girls honour the girls who lost their lives and never get justice. The film ends with the discovery of Shannan’s body a year after her disappearance. As with the real case, however, there are many dull questions left unanswered by the end of the lost girls.
Lost Girls Ended: Was Dr Hackett the real (and only) killer?
Dr Peter Hackett (Reid Birney) must have been working with someone to carry out those murders, and the only other suspect is his wife. At the beginning of the series, when a recording of Shannan’s 911 call is heard, she says, “They are trying to kill me,” indicating that more than one person is after her. Also, since Dr Hackett has a fake leg and can’t run, there’s no way he’s the one who chased Shannan through the swamp.
The key to finding Hackett was testimony from Joe Skies (Kevin Corrigan), Hackett’s neighbour from Oak Beach. Joe claims that Hackett hid the corpse in a piece of land, but was later transferred to him, and that’s when neighbours saw him. He also shows Mari a barn where Hackett is believed to have killed the victims and all the equipment he needed for cleaning up the mess. Police quickly dismiss skies’ testimony as he is said to have an old complaint against Hackett.
Mari was sure that Hackett was the killer of her daughter from the moment she talked to him. He is so relentless in chasing Hackett; he manages to investigate a swamp behind Hackett’s house to convince Commissioner Dormer at the end of the film because his daughter’s corpse has to be there. Dormer finally agrees to Mari’s request, and that’s when they finally found the body.
Why did the police not question Dr Hackett
The incompetence of the police department can be seen from the beginning of the lost girls when it takes them one hour after Shanan’s call for 911. Their lack of interest seems to come down to one thing: the victims are sexual workers, with no family and no one who cares about them. The idea is highlighted in several scenes where the news is played, and the victims are reduced to their work as prostitutes, almost implying that it was their own fault that they were killed.
Dr Hackett was not only a highly respected neighbour of the Oak Beach community; He also had excellent relations with the police department. When Mari visits him at the Oak Island Beach Association, he sees photographs on the walls — one showing Hackett in an Oak Island police parade and one with liberal societies. Another suspicious thing is that the police lost only evidence in the case: Shannan Jacket.
Everything seems to give rise to the fact that Hackett has contacts within the police department. It is possible that his connections with the police department’s usual incompetence and lack of interest in the disappearance of a prostitute, the real reason he was never found guilty. There is no clear indication that the police helped Hackett, but the lost girls suggest they were reluctant to investigate him.
Did the residents know that Dr Hackett was the killer?
It is impossible to know whether Oak Beach residents actually knew Dr Hackett was a serial killer. Still, it is clear from the outset that this is a very closed community that does not want to interfere with anyone else and ask themselves questions do not like it. This can be seen in the attitude they carry when outsiders come poking around.
Most of the community’s neighbours refuse to talk to Mari about her daughter disappearing overnight. Only one admits trying to help him, but according to him, he was running off. When Mari asks a neighbour about Dr Hackett, he tells her that he is an excellent neighbour and everyone owes him a favour. Joe Scalise is the only one who claims that many are aware of what Dr Hackett actually does. He says Hackett “helps” sex workers, rehabilitating them and giving them medical help, but it’s all just a cover-up he uses to make them disappear.
It is quite possible that some Oak Beach neighbours had their own doubts about Hackett, but they like to see other avenues of influence because he was within the community.
Lost Girls: The Ending’s Real Meaning
The Lost Girls of Netflix is a film that truthfully shows how the killings of sex workers are not taken as seriously as they should be. Sex workers are classified as disposable in society, and in the film, they are not actually considered real people worthy of being cared for by anyone, but their family. Mari Gilbert, in the movie, states that girls are remembered only as prostitutes, not daughters, sisters or mothers.
Most girls are not only full of intrigue and suspense but also send a message that everyone should listen to. In the final scene, after discovering Shaman’s body, Mari gives a speech about how the police never gave Shanan the importance he deserves, and how society blames the girls for their deaths. She ends by saying that the time has come to hold her accountable for what happened, and she will start on her own.
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