Review of To Catch A Killer (2023)

To Catch A Killer (2023) is a crime thriller. Actress Shailene Woodley, plays Eleanor Falco, a Baltimore police officer assigned as a liaison to the FBI. One reviewer called the character “a modern-day Clarice Starling.”

Here’s the premise: Baltimore. New Year’s Eve. A talented but troubled police officer is recruited by the FBI’s chief investigator to help profile and track down a disturbed mass sniper terrorizing the city.

 

 

I watch FBI movies to discover teachable moments about Bureau policies and procedures. The movie was fine. I was especially happy that they avoided that old cliche that the FBI doesn’t play well with others.

In To Catch a Killer, when a mass murderer opens fire on innocent people, the Baltimore Police Department actually invites the FBI into the case and everyone works together as a task force on the investigation. Refreshing!

Geoffrey Lammark, the main FBI agent character, is hardworking, insightful, respectful to team members, and openly gay. Again, refreshing.

But wait. The movie does have a few problems involving Eleanor Falco’s lack of training, which explains the Clarice comparison.

We learn Eleanor applied but was rejected by the FBI because she failed her psychological and behavioral examinations (remember – she’s a tortured soul). However, it’s also mentioned two times that she doesn’t have a college degree. Regardless, based on her heroic actions, she is offered a position as a special agent even though she doesn’t meet the basic qualifications, making the movie’s ending implausible.

Since this was a glaring inaccuracy, I thought I would go over the eligibility requirements to become a special agent in the FBI:

  • Be at least 23 years old.
  • Apply before your 36th birthday unless you have veteran’s preference or federal law enforcement experience. You must complete the SASS process and enter on duty no later than the day before your 37th birthday.
  • Possess a valid driver’s license.
  • Have a bachelor’s degree and at least two years of full-time professional work experience, or have an advanced degree and at least one year of full-time professional work experience.
  • Meet our physical fitness requirements.
  • Be able to obtain a Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) Clearance.

To learn more about FBI recruitment for the agent position, please listen to the following FBI Retired Case File Review episodes:

257: FBI Special Agent Hiring and Training Update

258: Listener Q & A – SA and Analyst Positions, FBI Academy Training

To Catch A Killer is currently streaming on Hulu. Watch the official trailer here.

Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 250 episodes available for free on all popular podcast apps.

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