The Keepers
Based onMurder of Catherine Cesnik
Directed byRyan White
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes7
Executive producers
Production locationsBaltimore, Maryland
CinematographyDavid Jacobson
John Benam
EditorsKate Amend
Mark Harrison
Helen Kearns
Production companiesFilm 45
Tripod Media
Original release
ReleaseMay 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)

The Keepers is a seven-episode American documentary series that explores the unsolved murder of nun Catherine Cesnik in 1969. Cesnik taught English and drama at Baltimore's all-girls Archbishop Keough High School, and her former students believe that there was a cover-up by authorities after she suspected that a priest at the high school, A. Joseph Maskell, was guilty of sexually abusing students.[1][2] The series was directed by Ryan White and released on Netflix in 2017.[3][4][5]



No.TitleOriginal release date
1"The Murder"May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
Hoskins and Schaub investigate the disappearances and deaths of Sister Cathy Cesnik and Joyce Malecki in November 1969.
2"The School"May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
The episode reveals allegations of abuse at Archbishop Keough High School, and the personal stories of "Jane Doe" (Jean Hargadon Wehner) and other women at the school. Wehner discusses the day after the murder that Father Maskell took her to see the body of Sister Catherine Cesnik in nearby Lansdowne, Maryland.
3"The Revelation"May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
In 1992, Wehner faces the abuse she endured at Keough, allegedly at the hands of Father Maskell and other men he knew (including someone known as "Brother Bob"), as well as the threat that frightened her into silence.
4"The Burial"May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
In 1994, two former students (Wehner and Teresa Lancaster) file a lawsuit against Maskell, the gynecologist they allege witnessed sexual assaults by Maskell, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and the School Sisters of Notre Dame, but face intimidation from their lawyers, as well as their psychiatric experts who doubt repressed memories. The lawsuit is thrown out.
5"The Suspects"May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
A tip line created by the group yields two compelling suspects (Edgar Davidson and Billy Schmidt) who may have been involved in Sister Catherine's murder.
6"The Web"May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
Sister Catherine's sister, Marilyn Cesnik Radakovic, joins the case and discloses additional information about the days leading up to Cathy's disappearance.
7"The Conclusion"May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19)
The season finale details prior sexual abuse by Father Maskell at Saint Clement's Church that was known by the Archdiocese, and the legislative efforts to overturn the statute of limitations in Maryland.


The Keepers was met with critical acclaim upon its release. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the series an approval rating of 97% based on 30 reviews, with an average rating of 8.47/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Keepers draws on riveting, real-life terror to expose long-buried secrets—and tells an inspiring, brilliantly assembled story along the way."[6] Pilot Viruet of Vice wrote of the series, "It's harrowing and upsetting, and it will haunt you for a long time, which is part of what makes it necessary viewing."[7]

In Time magazine, Daniel D'Addario compared The Keepers with another Netflix true-crime series, Making a Murderer, stating that The Keepers does not lead its viewers to a definite conclusion about what happened. "While Sister Cathy Cesnik's death remains a mystery, its aftereffects include both crushing heartbreak and, for the amateur sleuths who seek to crack her case, a sense of making a difference... This isn't just more respectful to the victim than other true-crime stories, with their breathless delight at new clues. It's also more effective."[8] According to Jack Seale in The Guardian, "Where other true crime hits have followed a linear chronology, The Keepers hops between 1969, the 1990s and today, striking a fine balance between narrative structure – a wow moment at the end of every episode – and respect for a subject that doesn’t need or deserve sensationalism."[9]

Church response

The Archdiocese of Baltimore declined when asked by Netflix producers to comment on sexual misconduct allegations within the church. Later, the Archdiocese responded to the series by adding a FAQ page to its website, in which it stated allegations that the archdiocese knew of Maskell's sexual abuse prior to 1992 were false speculation.[10]


  1. ^ Loughrey, Clarisee (April 19, 2017). "The Keepers exclusive trailer: Netflix revisits a nun's unsolved murder five decades down the line". The Independent. Archived from the original on June 18, 2022. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  2. ^ "Baltimore archdiocese pays settlements to a dozen people alleging abuse by late priest". The Baltimore Sun. November 15, 2016. Archived from the original on August 10, 2017. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  3. ^ Busch, Anita (April 19, 2017). "'The Keepers': Netflix Drops Powerful Trailer About Murder Of Baltimore Nun". The Independent. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  4. ^ "Is This Netflix Docuseries the Next Making a Murderer?". Vogue. April 19, 2017. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  5. ^ "'The Keepers' is true crime with a fresh perspective: The victim's". The Washington Post. May 20, 2017. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  6. ^ "The Keepers: Miniseries". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  7. ^ Viruet, Pilot (May 25, 2017). "Netflix's Latest True Crime Docuseries Will Haunt You Forever". Vice. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  8. ^ D’Addario, Daniel (May 25, 2017). "The Keepers avoids true crime's ghastliest pitfalls". Time. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  9. ^ Seale, Jack (May 18, 2017). "Who murdered Sister Cathy? Netflix takes true crime to the next level". The Guardian. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  10. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions Based on "The Keepers"". Archdiocese of Baltimore. Retrieved June 19, 2017.