Alim Kheraj
July 10, 2017 5:45 am

Since The Keepers premiered, people have become fixated by the unsolved murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, who was killed in 1969 and is the subject of the Netflix documentary. Indeed, there has even been a petition launched against the Archdiocese of Baltimore to release files on Joseph Maskell, one of individuals the series suggests could be responsible for the murder (and who was later at the heart of a huge legal battle regarding historic sexual abuse crimes).

While you might think the inspiration for The Keepers came from an obsession with the case, it seems that the director actually got the idea for the series from his mom.

In a new interview with Vulture, Ryan White explained how his mom first introduced him to the case of Sister Cathy.

“I had never heard of her murder until three years ago when my aunt and mom reached out to me because they found out who Jane Doe was,” White said, referring to woman who, in the 1990s, came forward with historic sexual abuse accusations against Joseph Maskell from the 1960s.

Continuing, White shared that his aunt actually went to Archbishop Keough High School where Sister Cathy taught.

“That generation of women, especially in Baltimore, had always wondered who Jane Doe was. My mom and aunt were shocked because it was a woman they had grown up with and were friends with, and [they] had no idea about Jane Doe or this horrific past,” he said.

White admitted that he was initially hesitant to take on the project, mainly because he thought it sounded too much like a horror film.

“I remember saying to my aunt and my mom, because I had no budget, ‘Are you sure this is worth flying out to Baltimore? Are you sure this woman isn’t crazy? Is it worth it?’ They both said they don’t know her that well this late in life, but they were like, ‘She’s a lovely woman, I think it’s worth your time.’ They actually persuaded me,” he said. 

White said that he wouldn’t return to the story of The Keepers for a second season, which makes sense. The show reaches a pretty up-to-date conclusion, and while the mystery of who killed Sister Cathy is still unsolved, it feels like just enough was given to let us reach our own verdict.