‘Lover, Stalker, Killer’ Recap/Review: Who Is Liz Golyar?

By now, Netflix should be considered the undisputed king of the true crime genre, and their latest foray into true crime, Lover, Stalker, Killer, only solidifies the statement. The documentary focuses on the infamous Liz Golyar and how she made the life of Dave Kroupa a living hell, as well as the murder of Cari Farver. The sensational story has a pull from the very first second and manages to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the whole thing, which is what Netflix wants, I suppose.

Spoilers Ahead


What Happens In The Documentary?

At 35, Dave was about to give a shot to a new life after moving to Nebraska. He was single and had an amicable relationship with his ex, Amy, with whom he shared the custody of two kids. Dating was on the cards, and Dave took no time to sign up on the websites. All he was looking for was something casual, and that was about it. He met Liz pretty soon, who seemed normal enough to take the plunge. Dave and Liz hit it off pretty quickly, but he made it quite clear that he didn’t want to be monogamous. Liz appeared to be perfectly okay with that.

Soon, he was dating another woman named Cari. Dave described her as someone who was out of his league—him being an automobile shop worker and her having a proper office job. But the two had a pretty solid start, and life couldn’t be more perfect for Dave. There was one awkward incident when Liz suddenly showed up at Dave’s apartment under the pretext of picking up something and came across Cari, but that was pretty negligible.

Dave’s nightmare started very randomly when he started receiving texts from Cari regarding moving in together, which was surprising as it came out of the blue. He understandably refused and subsequently received a barrel of text messages from Cari about how he ruined her life and now she was going to get back at him. Dave never saw Cari in flesh and blood again but kept receiving more texts and emails, where the intensity of the threats only increased. Naturally, he sought help from Detective Chris Legrow from the Omaha Police, but despite trying his best, Chris failed to get a hold of Cari. Things kept getting worse for Dave as Cari started to harass Liz and went to the extreme length of burning down Liz’s house with her pets inside. By now, Liz and Dave had rekindled their relationship, but after this tragedy, Liz decided it would be best for her to get out of Dave’s life, and she went away.

Alone and frustrated, Dave moved away again in search of some peace. His loneliness led him to start dating again, and soon he started talking with another woman on the internet, only to realize it was Cari all along. By now, Cari was threatening Amy and her kids as well, which made things even worse for Dave. Around the same time, two other detectives, Jim and Ryan, from Pottawattamie County, Kansas City, were looking into the case of the mysterious disappearance of Cari Farver. Cari had a history of bipolarity, as confirmed by her mother, Nancy, but she was never really the type of person who would do something as insane as stalking someone to the point of infinity. At least that was what these two detectives discovered.

By then, it had been at least two years since someone actually saw Cari, even though Dave, Liz, and Karen were all receiving those vile text messages. Seeing no other option, Jim and Ryan brought in their IT expert, Tony Karva. Thanks to a program Tony invented, an IP address was soon discovered, and that led the investigation to a house that belonged to one of Tony’s subordinates. Upon interrogating the dude, Jim, Ryan, and Tony found out that it was his on-and-off girlfriend who had been using his WiFi over the last two years. And guess who that girlfriend was? None other than Liz Golyar.

The police now knew it was Liz who was behind all the craziness, but they didn’t have enough proof to take action against her. Cari’s disappearance was also something that needed to be solved, even though the detectives had developed theories about Liz playing a part in that. Liz further threw a curveball at the detectives by shooting herself and claiming it was Amy who was behind it. This, however, gave the police the perfect opportunity to play Liz’s friends, who would protect her against anyone. It was quite a bit of a struggle, but the police did manage to find enough evidence that would apprehend Liz for Cari’s murder.

The trial was not particularly easy given there was no trace of Cari’s body, but the evidence Jim, Ryan, and Tony found was good enough to put Liz behind bars for life. Nancy finally got justice for her daughter, and Dave also got his peace back. The documentary ended with Dave being remorseful about what happened to Cari, only because she had the misfortune of meeting him.


Review

The scariest thing about the true crime genre is probably the fact that every terrible thing that we see here is mostly done by ordinary people like us. And whether you admit it or not, we are drawn to stories like these as well, and in case you’re wondering, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s some amount of darkness in every human being, and as long as we are not actively pursuing it and only gorging on Netflix documentaries because they are so addictive, I guess it’s fine. True Crime is something that really sells, which is why Netflix (and everyone else) keeps telling us these stories. The fact that there is an endless supply of this type of content is also something that should be taken into consideration.

Lover, Stalker, Killer is made like any other Netflix documentary of the genre—high on production value with an exciting narrative. Making a crime documentary is not an easy thing, especially when the people who were associated with the actual thing are actively involved. But director Sam Hobkinson handles the whole thing really well by constructing every piece of the puzzle and infusing the narrations of every key character. I would say making Dave the main narrator was a great creative decision, as the whole thing starts with him looking for love and finding horror.

However, one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb here is the excessive amount of reenactment of actual events. Considering the story they had, it is understandable that the director didn’t have much archival footage in hand, so he had to take the only logical way out. But that kind of took away the intensity of the story and made it seem sort of artificial. I am glad that people got to know about what really happened to Cari Farver thanks to this, but maybe making a feature film with this story would have been the smarter choice given the circumstances. This might seem a bit far-fetched, but just imagine Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, and Mark Ruffalo playing Jim, Ryan, and Tony with someone like David Fincher directing this thing—doesn’t that sound really enticing? The counterargument to that might be the fact that it would have taken the limelight away from the real people, especially the detectives who were responsible for uncovering the mystery. But a cinematic adaptation could have also been more emotionally impactful and certainly reached a larger section of the audience.


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Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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