MURDER IN BOSTON: ROOTS, RAMPAGE & RECKONING on Max is a new HBO Original documentary series in three parts. Each episode deals with an aspect revealed by the full title. Read our Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage & Reckoning review here!

MURDER IN BOSTON: ROOTS, RAMPAGE & RECKONING is a new HBO Original documentary series in three parts. A specific outcome of the true crime case is dealt with in each episode. The full title appropriately reveals what each episode focuses on.

As this is all about a well-known true crime case, we will cover facts in this review that are not revealed in episode 1. However, these details are part of the official synopsis for the docu-series. While the murder of Carol Stuart is the true crime case covered, it’s also very much about segregated Boston.

Read our Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage & Reckoning review below. Episode 1 premieres on Max in the US on December 4, 2023.

The brutal murder of Carol Stuart

On October 23, 1989, Carol Stuart was shot in the head while seven months pregnant. This is a fact and the only accurate thing we’ll hear in episode 1. Not that the episode isn’t completely accurate and very well-produced.

It’s just that episode 1 of Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage & Reckoning deals with the “Roots” part. Episode 2 is “Rampage” (coming December 11, 2023) and episode 3 is “Reckoning” (released December 18, 2023).

What we learn in episode 1 is the history of Boston. Especially the period from 1974 up to 1989 when Carol Stuart was murdered.

Also, we hear the 911 call from Charles Stuart, where he reports that he and his pregnant wife have been shot during a robbery. They are a white couple and very soon, Charles “Chuck” Stuart will say the dangerous words: “Black man”.

What comes next is brutal racial profiling which this docu-series helps us understand by showing the complex history of race-based hostilities in Boston. In a rush to ensure the White people of Boston can feel safe, police brutalized the Black community.

Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage & Reckoning – Review | Max/HBO

“A black man did it!”

From the second the words “Black man” are spoken, we should all know by now that this immediately resulted in pure dread. Not unlike when any potential terror event happens now. Muslims are immediately waiting to hear whether the perpetrator was associated with Islam in any way.

And when the pandemic happened, it resulted in brutal attacks on anyone who looked Asian.

Interestingly, whenever a Christian white man is guilty of or responsible for anything, it’s different. That never falls on every single other white Christian male to carry part of the responsibility.

Women and any kind of minority, however, will also be expected to take part of the blame when “one of us” has done anything.

Or, as is the case in the HBO documentary series Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage, and Reckoning, even an accusation is enough. It painted a target on the back of every adult Black male in Boston. It just suited the narrative of what was happening in Boston in the late 1980s perfectly.

The perfect storm

Crack and gang-related violence was at an all-time high, and for a white man to say a black man attacked him and his wife made perfect sense to all of white Boston. Of course, the circumstances are strange – to put it mildly – and questions should have been asked. They just never were.

Strange, considering that women are most likely to be killed by their partners.

If you’re familiar with the case or have read a little bit about this HBO Documentary series, you’ll know that the story is very different. Charles Stuart falsely alleged that his pregnant wife (and himself) had been shot by a Black man. In reality, it’s all a plan he cooked up himself.

Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage, and Reckoning is on Max now

The HBO Documentary Series Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage, and Reckoning was produced and directed by Jason Hehir (The Last Dance, HBO’s Andre The Giant). It was produced in association with The Boston Globe. Actually, this makes perfect sense as it’s as much about Boston as a murder.

The interviews in this documentary series are very diverse and offer several points of view. I mean, there is only one understandable POV with what we know now. However, we see many interviews with people living in Boston in the 1970s and 1980s. The racism in these interviews is staggering! Well, to me, anyway.

Also, hearing from one of the police officers working in the projects of Boston is scary. He’s now retired but clearly loved his job. Or, as he phrases it in episode one; He liked helping good people but loved being bad to bad people. Fortunately, we also hear from black men who knew him as a cop. He was brutal!

We also see quite a bit of footage from the murder scene and as Charles Stuart arrives at the hospital. We even hear him say “Black man” which unleashes all hell. This is possible because the CBS reality series Rescue 911 was taping that night and is on the scene.

It’s a very direct, honest, informative, scary, and brutal documentary. You do not want to miss out on this!

Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage, and Reckoning premieres with episode 1 on Max on December 4, 2023. Episode 2 is out on December 11 and episode 3 will be out on December 18, 2023.


A three-part docuseries exploring the 1989 case of Charles Stuart, who falsely alleged that his pregnant wife had been shot by a Black man.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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