Boston Strangler: release date, trailer, cast, plot, interviews and all about the true crime thriller

Boston Strangler stars Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon as investigative journalists on the trail of a serial killer.
Boston Strangler stars Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon as investigative journalists on the trail of a serial killer. (Image credit: Disney Plus/Hulu)

Boston Strangler on Hulu and Disney Plus is the latest true crime story to get an adaptation but this time with a twist. Although it’s based on the real-life case of Albert DeSalvo, who was sentenced to life for murdering 13 women in Massachusetts in the 1960s, the movie focuses on two trailblazing journalists determined to give a name to the killer.

Written and directed by Matt Ruskin (Crown Heights) and produced by Hollywood legend Ridley Scott, the movie stars Keira Knightley as Loretta McLaughlin, the real-life journalist who broke the Boston Strangler story, along with her fellow reporter Jean Cole, played by Carrie Coon.

Although there have been several adaptations of the story, including the famous 1968 movie The Boston Strangler starring Tony Curtis as Albert DeSalvo, what lies in store with this one-off drama remake?

Here’s everything we know about Boston Strangler on Hulu and Disney Plus

Boston Strangler release date

Boston Strangler is a one-off drama that launches worldwide on Friday, March 17, 2023 on Hulu in the US and on Star on Disney Plus in the UK.

Is there a Boston Strangler trailer?

Yes a trailer for the Boston Strangler has arrived, teasing the tense mystery that Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon's reporters attempt to crack. Watch the trailer directly below...

Boston Strangler plot

Boston Strangler follows Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley), a reporter for the Record-American newspaper, who becomes the first journalist to connect the Boston Strangler murders. As the mysterious killer claims more and more victims, Loretta attempts to continue her investigation alongside colleague and confidante Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), yet the duo find themselves stymied by the rampant sexism of the era. Nevertheless, McLaughlin and Cole bravely pursue the story at great personal risk, putting their own lives on the line in their quest to uncover the truth. 

Meet the Boston Strangler cast: who's who in the true crime thriller

Boston Strangler cast — Keira Knightley on playing Loretta McLaughlin

Keira Knightley is playing journalist Loretta McLaughlin who broke the story of 'The Boston Strangler', after helping detective Jim Conley (see below). Their shared commitment to solving the case and breaking the story creates a unique bond between Loretta and the detective. “There’s mutual respect, and there’s a mutual realization that they both want to get to the truth,” Knightley says of Loretta and Conley.

“This is a horrific story of the brutality of the male psyche and how disturbed and awful it can be through the eyes of two women. It’s a fast-paced story, and it’s a very tricky story to tell because there are many different twists and turns in it.”

As Boston Strangler follows Loretta’s fact-finding mission, writer/director Matt Ruskin’s screenplay shows the ways in which her professional ambitions often conflict with her personal responsibilities — as a mother of three in the early 1960s, she frequently finds herself at odds with social conventions that expect her to place her husband and children’s well-being above her own. “Matt’s screenplay manages to convey the complexity of the characters while telling a story at such speed,” says Keira.

* British star Keira Knightley needs no introduction, having starred in movies from Pirates of the Caribbean, Bend It Like Beckham and Love Actually, to The Imitation Game and Colette.

Keira Knightley in Boston Strangler

Keira Knightley as Loretta McLaughlin in Boston Strangler. (Image credit: Hulu)

Carrie Coon on playing Jean Cole

American actor Carrie Coon is Loretta’s fellow reporter Jean Cole. “Jean knows how to play by the rules and get what she needs,” Carrie Coon explains. “She believes that you put your head down. You do your work. You’re also still a woman. You don’t need to curse, and you don’t join in the card games. She finds Loretta’s tactic of elbowing her way into these rooms off-putting and counterproductive, and she’s quick to tell Loretta as much.”

The two women develop mutual respect, working alongside one another in a male dominated media field. “There’s also, of course, the tacit understanding of what it was to be one of those women in Boston. They were deeply, deeply afraid for their safety. They were getting death threats at home. Jean had already experienced that just from covering a mayor’s race early in her career—she was getting death threats because she was a woman in a man’s sphere.”

* Carrie Coon's film credits include Gone Girl, The Nest and Ghostbusters: Afterlife, as well the Sky Atlantic series The Gilded Age.

Carrie Coon in Boston Strangler

Carrie Coon is playing Jean Cole in Boston Strangler. (Image credit: Hulu)

Alessandro Nivola on playing detective Jim Conley

Alessandro Nivola is a Boston native who plays the film’s homicide detective Jim Conley “There’s lore around it, especially if you grew up in this part of the world,” reveals says. “I knew people who claimed that they’d had people knock on their door in the early ’60s and ask to fix things in their apartment and that they’d sent them away. They were sure that, had they let him in, they might not have been long for this world.”

Determined to find and arrest the strangler, Conley becomes obsessed with the case and is even willing to turn to cutting-edge tactics to achieve his aims. “He’s increasingly disenchanted with the anachronistic, old-fashioned policing methods that were still in place at the time that the movie’s set when forensic psychology was something that was not taken that seriously,” says Nivola. “Talking to shrinks about trying to profile a serial killer just really wasn’t common practice.”

Alessandro Nivola in Boston Strangler.

Alessandro Nivola as Jim Conley in Boston Strangler. (Image credit: Hulu)

Who else is starring in Boston Strangler?

The rest of the Boston Strangler cast features David Dastmalchian (Dune) as the serial killer Albert DeSalvo and Academy Award winner Chris Cooper (Adaptation) as the women reporter's editor Jim Maclaine. Bill Camp is Edmund McNamara, Morgan Spector (Homeland) plays James McClaughlin, Peter Gerety is Eddie Gorsetti and young Liam Anderson plays Tommy.

Chris Cooper as editor Jim Maclaine.

Chris Cooper as editor Jim Maclaine. (Image credit: Disney+)

Bill Camp in Boston Strangler.

Bill Camp as Edmund McNamara in Boston Strangler. (Image credit: Hulu)

Behind The Scenes, locations and more on Boston Strangler

Filming for Boston Strangler took place in and around the city of Boston between December 2021 and February 2022 . The movie is from 20th Century Studios and award-winning writer-director Matt Ruskin. Ben Kutchins (Ozark) is the show's Emmy Award-nominated director of photography.

The Boston Strangler — all about the 1968 movie starring Tony Curtis

1968 crime movie The Boston Strangler (see trailer above) starred Tony Curtis as serial killer Albert DeSalvo who strangled many women in the early 1960s in Boston. Henry Fonda starred as John S. Bottomly, the chief detective who obtained DeSalvo’s confession as the body count grew and featured many interrogation scenes between cop and culprit. The 1968 film was based on the book The Boston Strangler by Gerold Frank and saw Tony Curtis nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance.

Tony Curtis as killer Albert DeSalvo in 1968 movie The Boston Strangler.

Tony Curtis as killer Albert DeSalvo in 1968 movie The Boston Strangler. (Image credit: Alamy)

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.

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