Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon Discuss the Importance of Playing the Women Who Broke the Boston Strangler Case

Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon star in Boston Strangler

Did you know two female reporters broke the case of the notorious Boston Strangler murders in the 1960s? The answer is most likely "no" because Loretta McLaughlin and Jean Cole were largely erased from the history books in the Boston Strangler murders.

Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon play the Record-American newspaper reporters in Hulu's original film, BOSTON STRANGLER, and the two actors were shocked to learn just how much the two women contributed to the case. Knightley and Coon say they're proud to be part of a movie that revisits history and sets the story straight.

Award-winning writer-director Matt Ruskin (Crown Heights) brings us the story of the Boston Strangler from the point of view of two journalists. In the true-crime thriller streaming on Hulu on March 17, Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley) connected the various murders occurring in Boston in the 1960s and broke the story, coining the phrase the Boston Strangler, along with her colleague Jean Cole (Carrie Coon). The news story was picked up nationwide and it forced the Boston police to take the case seriously. The police department had classed the murders of older women as random violence. 

Everyone involved with the Hulu film was shocked to hear of Loretta McLaughlin and Jean Cole's involvement in cracking the case of the infamous serial killer terrorizing women in Boston. The director/writer researched the subject matter and every discovery was eye-opening.

"Several years ago, I started reading all that I could and discovered this incredibly layered murder mystery that was full of twists and turns," revealed Ruskin at a press conference for the movie. "And, in many ways, was as much a story about the city at the time. And so, I was just completely gripped by the case. And when I discovered these reporters, Loretta McLaughlin and Jean Cole, I found out that they were one of the first reporters to connect the murders. And they actually gave the Boston Strangler his name during the course of their reporting. I felt like that was a really compelling way to revisit this case."

Carrie Coon was equally taken by the shocking revelation.

"Yes, that was the most shocking part of it for me, that these women were so integral to breaking the case and to forcing the police departments to share information. And their names are never mentioned in association with it. That was really shocking to me."

Keira was also surprised at the omission of the women in the Boston Stranger case.

"And I just thought it was a really interesting way of telling the story of a serial killer but through the point-of-view of these two female journalists," said Knightly. "And the fact that you’ve kinda got a case where most people didn’t know that it was two women who broke the story, that they’ve largely sort of been erased from the history of this case, I thought was really interesting.

Knightley found the story "inspiring" and Loretta's tenacity inspirational as well. Loretta, a lifestyle writer, convinced her newspaper editor to cover a local murder, and she found the connection between multiple murders, and her reporting forced the Boston police to recognize a serial killer was on the loose although the term "serial" was not yet a common classification until 1974 when the FBI coined the term. 

"It was her tenacity that I found most inspiring, you know. I've been speaking to quite a few women who've seen the film, and this word keeps coming up, which I find fascinating, which is it was "cathartic" to watch it," Knightley stated. And I think probably I experienced that when I read it, you know, all of the things that she came up against, whether it's the male-dominated workplace or desperately trying to have a home life and a job and trying to raise children at the same point as trying to get justice for these women."

"Cathartic" is the best word to describe BOSTON STRANGLER. To know that women outwitted the police detectives on the case is truly satisfying.

Don't miss the true-crime thriller, BOSTON STRANGLER, now streaming on Hulu.

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