KILLER SALLY on Netflix is a documentary series with three episodes. We’re in the true crime subgenre and this case against Sally McNeil is both fascinating and very troubling. Read our full Killer Sally docu-series review here!
KILLER SALLY is a new Netflix true-crime documentary series with three episodes. When Sally McNeil shot her husband, Ray McNeil, on Valentine’s Day in 1995, it was after he had been choking her (again!). However, due to Sally’s career as a bodybuilder (and her temper), a self-defense plea was ridiculed.
This docu-series focuses on the very complex true crime story while examining domestic violence, gender roles, and how the world of bodybuilding affected the trial. You’ll be getting interviews with friends of both Ray and Sally as well as family and Sally McNeil herself.
Continue reading our full Killer Sally documentary series review below. On Netflix from November 2, 2022.
Gender bias galore
Killer Sally is the scary and wild story of a notorious crime from the world of bodybuilding. In 1995, on Valentine’s Day, bodybuilding champion Ray McNeil was (yet again) choking his bodybuilder wife, Sally. Desperate, she grabbed a gun and fatally shot him twice.
She calls the police immediately and you can even hear him still talking in the background. Knowing that she was in the right, due to it having been self-defense, she did the right thing and called 9-1-1. Both to get help for Ray and to turn herself in for the acts, she had committed.
After all, there was a documented history of domestic abuse, so Sally’s claims of self-defense were hardly surprising. The prosecution, however, argued it was premeditated murder and simply the revenge of a jealous and aggressive wife. Calling Sally a “thug,” “bully,” and “monster”.
Of course, this was something the media reveled in as they referred to her as a “brawny bride” or “pumped-up princess”.
While I can understand the media (not much has changed, after all) what truly sickens me is hearing the prosecutor. He’s being interviewed for this Killer Sally documentary on Netflix and is none the wiser today.
At least a reporter is quick to admit that it was biased and unfair treatment. Which it absolutely was!
The “gentle giant” with a short fuse
Watching Killer Sally made me angry in ways that only documentaries manage. It’s the same old story over and over again: “Oh, he was a great guy” is the first thing out of anyone calling Ray McNeil their friend.
Before long, however, we get the story about how this “gentle giant” who had a “short fuse” blinded a guy once while being a bouncer at a bar. And we’re also told the story of how the cops did nothing because they knew Ray. This story comes from Ray’s best friend, so it’s meant to paint him as a good guy.
He’s also the one who first describes him as a “Gentle Giant” and then goes on to state that he did have a short fuse and got into lots of fights. Strangely, however, Sally McNeil is simply labeled as aggressive. All while also telling the story of how she begged him to stay with her because she feared when Ray would come home on that fatal night when she shot him in self-defense.
And yes, she did have a temper as well. Something she is honest about, as well as her kids. However, her height, weight, and stature alone (compared to Ray McNeil in particular) should speak volumes. So should the fact that there was documented history of domestic abuse.
All that just seemed to disappear once anyone saw Sally’s (admittedly, very impressive) muscles.
Watch the Killer Sally docu-series on Netflix!
Killer Sally is directed by the award-winning filmmaker, Nanette Burstein (On The Ropes, Hillary). The producers are Traci Carlson, Robert Yapkowitz, and Richard Peete of Neighborhood Watch (Karen Dalton: In My Own Time, Blue Ruin).
The bottom line for me: As long as someone like George Zimmerman could walk away from killing the unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin, because he felt unsafe, then surely anyone with a documented history of abuse, should be able to make the same plea.
Especially with witnesses stating that she had had bruises, a broken nose and arm, that were caused by him. I can understand why her kids were so distraught by the entire ordeal. Fortunately, the ending of this docu-series offers hope in lieu of justice.
Killer Sally is out on Netflix from November 2, 2022.
Interviews with friends, family and Sally McNeil herself chart a bodybuilding couple’s rocky marriage — and its shocking end in a Valentine’s Day murder.
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