The Serpent

The Feisty Indian Aunty Watches… The Serpent

Dept. of Aunty Analysis


Hello everyone. It is I, your Feisty Indian Aunty, who just finished watching Netflix’s The Serpent, the British crime series about the serial killer Charles Sobraj (Tahar Rahim). I have always wondered how a person could get away with murder, and how much planning was needed to actually commit the perfect crime. God knows I used to terrify my children with my attempts at telling them what could be done and just how easy it could be to murder someone. They were not impressed with my theories.

Killing a person cannot be easy. No matter how much you may despise them. You must truly be evil in thought, word and deed. And all of my big talk aside, I would never actually kill someone. I was just always curious to get inside the mind of someone who could. And The Serpent got me closer than anything else I’ve seen or read.

The Serpent

I watched this series in horror. I was shocked at the way this French speaking serial killer, of Indian and Vietnamese parentage, worked his way through Asia and Europe, stalking tourists and young backpackers, making friends with them, and earning their trust, before taking their lives. Of course he had help. He is charismatic, and handsome, and develops a relationship with a beautiful young woman, Maire-Antree Leclerc (Jenna Coleman) and a drunk, Ajay Chowdhury (Amesh Edireweera). Both of whom he picked up along the way and charmed into becoming his trusted helpers. Then he befriends Nadine Gires (Mathilde Warnier) and gets her to introduce him to suitable girls. These three individuals helped him carry out his profoundly wicked plans.

His plan was evil and brilliant. He stole everything from the hippie tourists who befriended him – their money and the passports, both of which he used for his own purposes. He would give them a place to stay, drug them, and then kill them, leaving no trace as who they were. Using their passports, he would then travel incognito throughout Asia and across the world – to Bangkok, to Kathmandu, to Paris. He did this for years before he got caught. So how did he slip up? 

Without the tenacity and determination of Herman Knippenberg (Billy Howle), the third Secretary of the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok, Charles Sobraj would still be roaming the streets of Asia and committing crimes without leaving any clues. It was only through one man’s determination and tenacity, with absolutely no help from the police, that a notorious serial killer was caught. 

The Serpent

The Serpent left me wondering if anyone could really commit the perfect murder. We have had our shares of murders in Malaysia, and due to lack of evidence, many have escaped the gallows. But how much of that was planned and how much of it was just dumb luck? I still wonder how one goes about planning to not get caught. What kind of contingencies do they have to think about? More so in this day and age, with such advanced forensics, is it still possible to kill and escape the consequences?


I think if this series tells us anything, it is that crimes are solved and criminals are brought to justice by those who care. Indifference will only lead to more chaos. And the moral of the story is that it is our moral imperative to pay attention to the world around us, and play and active part in trying to make it a better place. Because if we don’t, then people will continue to get away with murder.

And that is a truly horrifying thought.

You can read all The Feisty Indian Aunty’s previous columns here.

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