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Fact-Checking Netflix's 'The Serpent,' Episode By Episode

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Fact-Checking Netflix's 'The Serpent,' Episode By Episode

Netflix's The Serpent opens with a disclaimer that although it's based on actual events, the conversations depicted in the series and some of the characters are fictionalized. That disclaimer may lead true crime enthusiasts to wonder just how much of the dark serial killer show is grounded in reality. Well, wonder no more. I've fact-checked all eight episodes of The Serpent to see just how often the series stretched the truth, so you don't have to.

Surprisingly, I discovered The Serpent doesn't take too many liberties with the strange but true (and terrifying) story of Charles Sobhraj's 1970s killing spree along the Hippie Trail of Southeast Asia. Sobhraj, who went by the name of Alain Gautier at the time, really did pose as a gem dealer in order to lure unsuspecting travelers into his orbit. Likewise, he and his girlfriend Marie-Andrée Leclerc, who went by the name Monique, did drug their victims to keep them sick and under their thrall at Kanit House in Bangkok, Thailand.

However, other details — like an overdosing monkey and the fate of the couple's accomplice Ajay — are much harder to pin down. Read on as I delve into the nitty-gritty details of the frightening true story behind The Serpent.

Episode 1

In the first episode, Charles and Maria lure an unsuspecting Dutch couple into their clutches in hopes of tricking them into moving gems for them. Meanwhile, five months in the future, Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg is searching for the couple at the behest of their parents.

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