As a culture, we have a weird fascination with learning about serial killers. In Mindhunter, we get a glimpse of why it might be important to understand how serial killers work.
It’s a weird balance but somehow David Fincher manages to depict why educating people about the behavior patterns of these maniacs is crucial without ever making it feel like a glorification. What he also does best is hires actors who chillingly make the viewer feel like they are watching the real thing.
The latest example of this is Oliver Cooper’s performance as David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam killer. However, many viewers may be wondering who the actor is and whether he actually looks the same way in real life as he does in the show.
Here is what to know about Oliver Cooper from Mindhunter season 2.
Who was the “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz?
David Berkowitz, the well-known Son of Sam killer left the city of New York permanently scarred during his terror, Biography.com explains that he was born to a Jewish mother who couldn’t afford to care for him, and had given up for adoption before he had ever formed memories of his biological mother.
His given name, Richard David Falco would soon become synonymous with dread and horror. He served in the Armed Forces, which means his skills with a gun would come in handy in a much more sinister way than was anticipated. No one is exactly sure what prompted his sinister plans, but he claimed to be taking orders from a demon-possessed dog.
He went after people in parked cars, which made a city with the population of New York full of terrifyingly easy targets. Utilizing his gun skills from his experience as a soldier in North Korea, he used a .44 caliber weapon to shoot and kill 6 people.
Wanting all of the attention focused on him, he left letters for police, daring them to match his skills. In one of these letters, he gave himself the nickname that still strikes recognition in the hearts of millions, “Son of Sam.” His smarts were no match for one unlikely scenario…a parking ticket.
After all of his cocky behavior, someone saw him getting away with a parking ticket on his windshield. That parking ticket would ultimately be his undoing.
After he was convicted and got 25- to life for all the murders, he recanted his story of the demon-possessed dog and claimed the sons of his next-door neighbor were involved in the planning of all six crimes. And as we witnessed in the show, all of that was fabricated to elevate his murders and his “Son of Sam” persona.
However, interestingly enough, he does show remorse for his murderous actions back in the 70s and even says in the CBS interview above that he loathes the name Son of Sam:
“As far as I’m concerned that was not me, that was not me. Even that name; I hate that name, I despise that name, that moniker. ‘Son of Sam.’ That was a demon.”
The video also discusses the dynamic spiritual turnaround Berkowitz has made with his life becoming a born again Christian and even running a prison ministry. And despite a few health setbacks, he’s still being rehabilitated for his crimes.
Who is David Berkowitz actor Oliver Cooper?
The young actor who embodied this crazed lunatic is Oliver Cooper and the role is quite different from what he typically plays. Cooper has an acting career that typically lends itself to comedy. For example, most audiences will probably remember him as Costa from the found footage party film Project X.
His past comedic films include The Hangover Part III as well as Office Christmas Party, with the added bonus of television roles in hit shows like Californication and The Goldbergs.
So, playing a serial killer who claims to hear demons is definitely stretching his performance wheelhouse.
But he is not done with the comedy genre just yet. He has an upcoming project with Funny or Die called The Coop, which Deadline describes as ” Big Brother meets an Agatha Christie novel.”
— Oliver Cooper (@TheOliverCooper) July 2, 2015
On top of this, it seems he will push forward into his dance with dramatic roles as he will be starring alongside Michael Shannon and Alex Pettyfer in a crime-drama called Echo Boomers.
What’s clearly obvious is that Cooper may have the build to play David Berkowitz but he certainly doesn’t look anything like him. Therefore makeup and prosthetics were probably involved to insinuate the likeness of Berkowitz. And needless to say, Cooper absolutely embodies the persona of the serial killer beyond just his good looks.
With it being such an outside-the-box role for Cooper, chances are he will get more attention in Hollywood. Just like Cameron Britton as Edmund Kemper, the role of David Berkowitz will likely be a game-changer for Oliver Cooper.
Mindhunter Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.