Netflix’s Jeffrey Dahmer Series Made Up Major Storylines – From Neighbours To Roadkill

Netflix's Jeffrey Dahmer series wasn't entirely true - and major parts of the storyline were made up just for the show. 
Credit: Netflix

Netflix’s Jeffrey Dahmer series wasn’t entirely true – and major parts of the storyline were made up just for the show. 

The true crime drama, created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, follows the infamous killer who murdered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991.

Although the series has been praised for its storytelling, along with Evan Peter’s portrayal of Dahmer, it turns out there are quite a few things that have been changed.

Watch this juror discuss Jeffrey Dahmer in the clip below…

One of the biggest elements to have been changed is the character of Jeffrey’s neighbour Glenda Cleveland (played by Niecy Nash).

In the series, it shows that she lives next door to Dahmer in the same apartment block. However, the real-life Cleveland lived in the building next door, reports Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Cleveland’s character was combined with another real-life neighbour, Pamela Bass, who did live in the same block as Dahmer.

It’s believed this was done to make the narrative easier for viewers to follow.

Dahmer’s real neighbour Bass thought he was kind and personable and even accepted (and ate) a sandwich from him, not suspecting anything.

Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer.
Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in the true-crime Netflix series. Credit: Netflix

Though she has often thought about this encounter ever since, Marie Claire reports.

Cleveland was also not the one to discover Dahmer’s 14-year-old victim Konerak Sinthasomphone.

It was actually her niece, Nicole Childress, who saw Konerak fleeing the killer’s building covered in blood, as she explains in this interview.

When the officers arrived they focused on Dahmer and never asked Childress any questions about what occurred.

Childress went to get Cleveland as the cops asked Dahmer questions, but when they came back everyone was gone. Tragically, Konerak was murdered by Dahmer shortly after.

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Nash discussed playing the role of Glenda Cleveland in an interview with Queue, in which she said: “My first introduction to Jeffrey Dahmer and his story was hearing something on the news and then hearing my parents talk.

“Glenda was one of his victims too. And her story has been told the least.”

The Claws star went on to say that playing the role came with ‘a lot of responsibility’.

Referencing Dahmer’s victims’ families, Nash added: “That comes with a lot of responsibility because you want to make sure you get it right.”

Niecy Nash as Gleve Cleveland.
One of the biggest elements to have been changed is the character of Jeffrey’s neighbour Glenda Cleveland (played by Niecy Nash). Credit: Netflix

Dahmer’s real neighbours were not very suspicious of him. As previously mentioned, Pamela Bass lived in the same building and had many interactions with the killer.

In a documentary, The Dahmer Files, she describes him as ‘kind of friendly but kind of introverted’.

Though there was a time she saw Dahmer take a bag of trash outside which haunts her to this day.

Unlike the series, the most Bass claims to have heard from Dahmer’s apartment was music.

“In my opinion, he appeared to be a geek,” another neighbour told news reporters at the time.

“By that I mean he kept to himself and would just do weird things, but not to the degree that you would think.”

According to reports, Dahmer’s neighbours didn’t complain that his apartment smelled of rotting meat. They only believed it smelled of urine, which didn’t spark the same concern.

This isn’t the only part of the Netflix series that isn’t accurate.

In the drama, it is insinuated that Dahmer and his dad, Lionel, would dissect roadkill together.

This is disputed in Lionel’s book, ‘A Father’s Story’, in which he claims that he taught his son how to preserve animal bones, as Jeffrey had an interest in science.

But he never showed him how to dissect roadkill or encouraged him to do it.

Lionel discussed his son ‘going around and getting roadkill’ and ‘saving animal bones’ in a Good Morning America interview where he spoke about Dahmer’s odd behaviour.

However, he claims he was totally unaware of the warning signs and was ‘stunned’ when he heard all of the details for the first time during his son’s trial.

Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer
Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer pictured in court. Credit: Alamy

Another point that was changed in the show was how often Dahmer wore his glasses.

When Dahmer’s trial began in September 1991, he appeared in court without his infamous spectacles.

He did this on purpose as he didn’t want to look any of his victims’ family members in the eye.

His stepmother Shari told Inside Edition: “He’s not wearing glasses so that he can’t see people. He panics.”

In his own interview on the same show, Dahmer said: “I felt uncomfortable looking anyone in the face, I didn’t want to see anyone’s face clearly, it helped me disassociate myself from what was happening.”

Despite this, the show depicts Evan Peters as wearing glasses in every courtroom scene for the duration of the trial.

Peters discussed making the series when interviewed by Variety, and he touched upon the backstory.

Related Article: Jeffrey Dahmer’s Killer Christopher Scarver Explains Why He Did It

The American Horror Story star said: “You can have all the backstory you want, but at the end of the day we’re not making a documentary.

“It’s more about maintaining the idea and the throughline of why you’re telling the story and always having that as your guiding light. But, there’s so much material for Dahmer that I think it’s incredibly important to make it really authentic.”

The actor went on to say that during production, it was important to Murphy that you watch it from the ‘outside’ of Dahmer’s perspective.

Peters explained, in a video shared by Ryan Murphy Productions: “We had one rule going into this from Ryan that it would never be told from Dahmer’s point of view. As an audience, you’re not really sympathising with him.

“You’re not really getting into his plight. You’re more sort of watching it, you know, from the outside. It’s called the Jeffrey Dahmer Story, but it’s not just him and his backstory. It’s the repercussions.”

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Written by Aimee Walker

Aimee is a senior content editor at IGV who specialises in finding the best original stories, trending topics and entertainment news. She graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Media and Communications.