The Myth of Serial Killer Profiling: review

7 February 2023 at 11:29 am

Author:   Tegan Rowe

We invited local reviewer Jack Davey to The Drill to watch Professor Craig Jackson – check out his piece below!


I’ve never been one for true crime documentaries, hiding behind a blanket as the gruesome tales unfold. Though I might have to rethink this, because Professor Craig Jackson’s ‘The Myth of Serial Killer Profiling’ was sensationally captivating; Jackson’s breadth of knowledge just outstanding.

There was certainly a buzz that filled The Drill’s bar, yet also a timidity because none of us knew what to expect from the evening. Across the venue, from serving drinks to showing us our seats, The Drill staff were very accommodating and helped me to feel comfortable in the space. Immediately upon walking into the auditorium, the red backdrop gave a very eerie and mysterious feel to set the tone of the night. I was courteously offered a seat in the fourth row from the stage. Jackson’s delivery (alongside his PowerPoint) was very reminiscent of a lecture, though his ridicules aimed at the profiling system added spurts of humour which made sure our attention was never lost.

Jackson began with a brief introduction into the concept of profiling, identifying the characteristics and behaviours of criminals. He invited us to become amateur detectives for the night, giving the audience opportunity to spot and shout out elements of a crime scene to catch a potential suspect. The majority of us, myself included, had very little experience within the psychology/criminology worlds, and this gave Jackson the opportunity to take aim at the media’s poor preconceptions of serial killers that we had become infused with, my view on stereotypical investigations radically changing. The occasional word would go over my head due to a lack of understanding, though he delivered this presentation with an intent to guide us through all the terminology and take us behind the scenes of profilers.

We were very much able to assess ourselves through the course of the evening as well. Jackson encouraged us to consider our bias and presumed assumptions of the criminals on display. Out of a line up, just because there’s a white man aged 25-40 present, he’s more likely to commit serial murder? But also drawing our attention to what we choose to believe. We might choose to believe a psychic because it will make us feel safer, but debunking these myths of fiction and reality was an eye opener to the reality we face.

The second half of this talk really honed in on the gorier details, which in a mildly unsettling way had audience members much more excited. Jackson thanked us for coming back and took a photo to show his mum upon entering the stage, so it felt an honour to support his event. The imagery was kept to very low graphic content, ideal for myself and anyone else squeamish.

The talk ventured into the night for a rather impressive 3 hours, almost like midnight horror stories, which developed an already spooky atmosphere. Although it flew by because I felt so fully engrossed in Jackson’s intellectual and inviting form of storytelling, with a wide net of experience that you don’t get from the comfort of your sofa. Walking out of the auditorium, I could hear so many conversations about the damages of profiling, and the horrors and mysteries surrounding serial killers. So I think one of the most important things about this event was that it got people engaged, talking, and critically thinking about what they had learnt. Very informative but Jackson’s confident yet conversational tone never lost our attention.

This is the second true crime event hosted here at The Drill following Emma Kenny’s: The Serial Killer Next Door last November, both of which have proven to be hugely popular. Keep an eye on the What’s On page of the website and sign up to the mailing list to be first to know when new events are added.

Once again an enormous thank you to The Drill team for inviting me to this talk, a type of event which was completely new to me, and that I’d encourage others to explore as well!



You can find Jack on Twitter and Instagram @jackdavxy

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