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Where You've Seen The Cast Of Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story Before

When someone commits acts so unthinkably depraved that their very existence defies any sense of rationality, it's natural to want to understand why. Serial killers like BTK and Son of Sam are so far removed from any sense of human decency that it's little wonder the world has devoted countless hours to picking apart their lives. Authorities (as well as fascinated scholars and civilians) continue to study their crimes and try to understand how they got away with them for so long, hoping to prevent the next incarnation of evil from doing more of the same.

Unlike most explorations of serial murderer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer, Ryan Murphy's Netflix series "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" examines Dahmer's crimes through the eyes of his victims. In doing so, Murphy sheds light on the role that systemic and cultural biases played in letting the killer get away with his horrific crimes for so long. With such a difficult and traumatic topic, sensitive, nuanced portrayals are essential to getting the message across, something the cast of this true crime series seems to comprehend very well.

Let's take a closer look at where you may have seen the cast of "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" before.

Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer

Emmy-winning actor Evan Peters plays the titular killer in "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story." As fans of Ryan Murphy's "American Horror Story" know, it's not his first time playing an evil character. Although the St. Louis native got his start on the Disney Channel sitcom "Phil of the Future," he went on to play several roles in Murphy's horror anthology series, which is far from family-friendly.

Among his most nefarious "AHS" characters are high school shooter Tate Langdon, fictional serial killer and hotel designer James March (whose story closely resembles that of the real serial killer H.H. Holmes), and cult leader Kai Anderson. He also briefly portrayed a handful of real cult leaders in "American Horror Story: Cult," including David Koresh, Jim Jones, Marshall Applewhite, and Charles Manson.

Peters has also worked extensively outside of the "American Horror Story" world. He played Stan Bowes in "Pose," another Ryan Murphy series, and appeared as Peter/Pietro Maximoff in the "X-Men" films and later on "WandaVision." He also appeared in the critically acclaimed "Mare of Easttown" as Detective Colin Zabel, the role that bagged him his outstanding supporting actor Emmy.

Richard Jenkins as Lionel Dahmer

The fact that Richard Jenkins plays the role of Lionel Dahmer has already spawned its share of memes thanks to some of the actor's previous roles. That's because it's not Jenkins' first time playing the father of a less-than-savory kid. Jenkins is the type of performer that TVOvermind calls a "that guy" actor, someone "whose face you always recognize yet you can't always place their name." Here's where you might have seen his face previously.

Before he took on the part of Lionel Dahmer, Jenkins appeared in "Six Feet Under." He played the role of Nathaniel Fisher, owner of the Fisher & Sons Funeral Home and dad to Claire, David, and Nate Fisher, whose complicated lives revolve around the home and all of the responsibility that comes with it. He's arguably best known for playing the frustrated father of John C. Reilly in the cult comedy "Step Brothers." Elsewhere, he's played dads in the Coen brothers film "The Man Who Wasn't There," the Afghanistan War movie "Dear John," and the Evan Rachel Wood-led "Kajillionaire," to name but a few. The guy can play a father figure in his sleep at this point.

Portraying all of those dads through the years only added to the complexity and insightfulness that Jenkins brought to the role of Lionel Dahmer. Reflecting on Dahmer's parents' situation, Jenkins told The Guardian that he initially struggled to understand whether parents would stop caring about their child even if he turned out to be a monster. "It was emotionally hard," he said. "The question for me was: if Jeffrey Dahmer is your son, do you stop loving him? And the answer's no, you just don't."

Molly Ringwald as Shari Dahmer

'80s icon Molly Ringwald plays Jeffrey Dahmer's stepmother Shari Dahmer in "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story," accurately portraying the woman who appeared with her husband Lionel on "Larry King Live" in 2004. Like her co-star Evan Peters, Ringwald got her start as a child actor. She appeared on "Diff'rent Strokes" and then "The Facts of Life" from 1979 through 1980, when the creators of the spin-off decided to part ways with her. She told Entertainment Weekly that this was due to the showrunners wanting an older girl for the part — she was still only 12 at the time.

When Ringwald herself got a little older, she became a member of the group of actors known as the Brat Pack. She co-starred in a number of John Hughes classics like "Sixteen Candles," "Pretty in Pink," and "The Breakfast Club," and then went on to play Frannie Goldsmith in the original mini-series adaptation of Stephen King's "The Stand." She was huge at the time, and the fame was a lot to handle. "It wasn't really my plan to become incredibly famous incredibly young," she told Refinery 29's UnStyled podcast. "It disrupted things. I'm basically a pretty introverted person."

In more recent years, Ringwald has become known for her mom roles. She appeared as the Juergens' mother on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," appearing in almost 100 episodes between 2008 and 2013, and these days she's perhaps best known as Archie's mom on "Riverdale."

Niecy Nash as Glenda Cleveland

For those who have fallen in love with Niecy Nash's many comedic performances over the years, her heartbreaking portrayal of Glenda Cleveland is something of a gut-punch. Depicted in the Netflix series as living in the adjacent apartment to Dahmer, Cleveland actually lived in the next building over when she desperately begged police to intervene the year before he was caught, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Nash's first onscreen appearance was in the 1995 film "Boys on the Side," in which she popped up as an extra. That same year, she was an extra on the series "Party of Five," appearing as a nurse in the episode "Spring Breaks: Part 1."

Through the late 1990s and early 2000s, Nash acted in quite a few smaller roles, landing parts on shows like "Malcolm & Eddie," "That's Life," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "NYPD Blue," "Reba," and "Judging Amy." In 2003, the actor secured a recurring role on the absurdist adult animation "Kid Notorious," voicing the character Tollie Mae. The stars aligned for her in 2003 when she was cast as the iconic Deputy Raineesha Williams on "Reno 911!" and began hosting the Style Network series "Clean House." Since then, she has had a number of recurring and main roles on shows like "Getting On," "Claws," "When They See Us," "The Rookie: Feds," and "Never Have I Ever."

Penelope Ann Miller as Joyce Dahmer

Lionel Dahmer's book "A Father's Story," which attempts to understand exactly what went wrong with his son, paints a less-than-flattering picture of his ex-wife Joyce, even questioning whether medications prescribed during her pregnancy could have caused her son's deviance. In the Netflix series, Joyce is played by Penelope Ann Miller.

Miller starred in the 1985 Broadway production of "Biloxi Blues" and would later appear with her co-star Matthew Broderick in the film adaptation. Like her co-star Molly Ringwald, she played in a number of essential 1980s and 1990s films, including "Big Top Pee-wee," "Adventures in Babysitting," "The Freshman," "Awakenings," "Kindergarten Cop," and "Carlito's Way," in which she played the ballet dancer-turned-stripper ex-girlfriend of Al Pacino's titular character. She also appeared in quite a few popular TV shows during that time frame, such as "Miami Vice," "St. Elsewhere," "The Facts of Life," "Family Ties," and "Tales from the Darkside."

In 1998, she played Erica Hewitt on the CBS sitcom "The Closer," which starred Tom Selleck. She has also continued to work in primetime television roles, appearing on shows like "CSI: NY" and "Criminal Minds." More recently, she popped up in "Riverdale" as Ms. Wright, the prosecuting DA in Archie's case.

Michael Beach as Dennis Murphy

Veteran actor Michael Beach plays Milwaukee detective Dennis Murphy in "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story." Along with Detective Kennedy, the real Dennis Murphy played a key role in the prosecution of Jeffrey Dahmer, logging approximately 60 hours of interview time with the serial killer according to his testimony at trial. The show is hardly Beach's first rodeo when it comes to playing enforcers of the law.

The Boston native played a police officer in Bill Hader's dark comedy crime series "Barry," a detective in the legal drama "All Rise," and an FBI Agent in "Blue Bloods. He appeared as LAPD Internal Affairs CO Percy West on "The Rookie," and he also played Detective Kelly Cooper on the true crime series "Unsolved," to name but a few. He's got the whole lawman thing down to an art at this point, with TV casting directors regularly turning to him for his expertise in this area.

Beach also has some notable big screen credits to his name. DC fans will no doubt recognize him for his turn as hijacker Jesse Kane, who leads a group of modern-day pirates in 2018's "Aquaman." He's killed during a confrontation with the titular hero, which leads to his son becoming Black Manta and vowing to take his revenge against the Atlantean. Beach also appeared in the critically acclaimed romantic drama "If Beale Street Could Talk," playing the father of Stephan James' Alonzo "Fonny" Hunt.

Shaun J. Brown as Tracy Edwards

Most of the first episode of "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" centers around the pure terror of Dahmer's would-be victim Tracy Edwards as he desperately attempts to stall and manipulate the depraved serial killer while trapped in his filthy apartment. Edwards' brave efforts paid off when he managed to escape, bringing to light the extent of Dahmer's many horrors. Tragically, Edwards continued to struggle after he helped put Dahmer away, going without adequate housing and even spending time in prison.

In the series, Edwards is portrayed by Shaun J. Brown, whose soulful expressions are central to his powerful performance. Brown got his start on the small screen in 2011 with a small role in the sci-fi series "Bar Karma." In 2013, he played a nerdy kid named Bruce who was eaten by werewolves on the HBO series "True Blood." After appearing in a handful of shows, including "Glee," "Rizzoli & Isles," "The Newsroom," "Fresh Off the Boat," and "School of Rock," Brown joined the main cast of Joel McHale's sitcom "The Great Indoors," playing a hipster working for an online publication. And in 2019, the actor boarded Seth Rogen's sci-fi comedy "Future-Man" as Hatchet, a member of Torque's polyamorous marriage cluster.

Dyllón Burnside as Ronald Flowers

Ronald Flowers is one of the few victims to survive Jeffrey Dahmer. In the 2020 documentary series "Jeffrey Dahmer: Mind of a Monster," Flowers would recount his experience of meeting Dahmer in 1988. He left Club 219 in Milwaukee and experienced car trouble. After Dahmer presented himself as a Good Samaritan, inviting Flowers to walk to his place to pick up Dahmer's car and give his vehicle a jump, Flowers soon found himself drugged and passing out in "sheer terror" before waking up in the hospital. Despite Flowers' efforts to report the crime, the police didn't believe him. As Evan Peters told Netflix's Queue, the authorities "failed to stop him multiple times because of racism and homophobia."

In "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story," Flowers is portrayed by Dyllon Burnside, who also plays Ricky Evangelista on Ryan Murphy's "Pose." As a teen, Burnside toured with the boy band 3D. After switching gears, he appeared on Broadway in the jukebox musical "Holler If Ya Hear Me," based on the music of Tupac Shakur. That same year, Burnside appeared in the cannabis-themed comedy anthology series "High Maintenance." The actor landed his role as Ricky on "Pose" in 2018, and he would work with Ryan Murphy again in 2021, playing a content house influencer named James on the holiday-themed "American Horror Stories" episode "The Naughty List."

Michael Learned as Catherine Dahmer

As recounted in his FBI interviews, Jeffrey Dahmer killed three people while living under his grandmother Catherine Dahmer's Wisconsin roof. She kicked him out of the house the year before he was finally caught and held accountable for his crimes. At that point, he had lived with his grandmother for the better part of a decade. In the Netflix series, Catherine Dahmer, who died in 1992, is portrayed by Michael Learned.

Learned has an outstanding four Primetime Emmys to her name, earned for her work on "The Waltons" as well as the 1982 CBS series "Nurse." During her time as Olivia Walton, Learned became a familiar face to generations. In 2010, she appeared in the regular role of terminally ill patient Shirley Smith on "General Hospital." She has also appeared in a number of other big TV shows throughout the years, including "St. Elsewhere," "Murder, She Wrote," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Scrubs," and "Cold Case," among others.

Colby French as Detective Kennedy

Detective Patrick Kennedy was half of the investigation team that took the statement of Jeffrey Dahmer, taking the early part of the serial killer's confession alone before calling in Dennis Murphy to assist him. A seasoned homicide detective at the time of the arrest, Kennedy was called to the scene after police found a human head in Dahmer's home. Kennedy is played by actor Colby French, who is most recognizable for his work on NBC's "Heroes" as Hank. French has been acting on television since the mid-1990s when he appeared in the cult-themed TV movie "The Colony" and the short-lived television adaptation of the Michelle Pfeiffer film "Dangerous Minds."

French has also acted in plenty of primetime TV shows over the years, including appearances on "The X-Files," "ER," "Angel," "The Practice," "24," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Charmed," and "CSI: Miami." Like many of his co-stars in "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story," he's no stranger to Ryan Murphy: In 2016, he appeared in a recurring role as a police officer on "American Horror Story: Roanoke." French would later appear in Murphy's "9-1-1" as Detective Andrew Marks. In 2019, he had a recurring role in the Apple+ true crime podcast-themed series "Truth Be Told," and in 2020, he played Lou in the Hulu drama "Little Fires Everywhere."

Rodney Burford as Tony Hughes

Jeffrey Dahmer's many victims included deaf Wisconsin native Tony Hughes. Rather than communicating with his voice, Hughes — who lost his hearing as an infant, according to The Scottish Sun — communicated through sign language and writing. It was through the latter that he first connected with the predator who would take his young life after they met at a local bar in 1991, a tragic tale depicted in the episode "Silenced." According to The Daily Moth's Deaf News Brief, the episode features several deaf actors and "a lot of authentic ASL."

Portraying this young man's final hours is actor Rodney Burford, who has been praised for his performance. Burford is otherwise known for the Netflix reality series "Deaf U." The show follows several students at Gallaudet University, a liberal arts university for hard of hearing and deaf people. As series producer Nyle DiMarco emphasized in an interview with IndieWire, the series aims to impact the hearing community's tendency to overlook the complexities of deaf culture and the richness of deaf experiences, with DiMarco noting that half of GU's deaf and hard of hearing population is BIPOC. Buford stressed his desire to change these attitudes as well, saying: "The only thing we can't do is hear, and that's all."

Furly Mac as Christopher Scarver

In 1992, Jeffrey Dahmer was given 15 consecutive life sentences for his abhorrent crimes, with no possibility of parole. Two years later, he was dead. He paid the ultimate price for his crimes when fellow prisoner Christopher Scarver took it upon himself to carry out the death penalty. In a New York Post exclusive, Dahmer's executioner recounted the tale, and it seems the Netflix series gets it right with its depiction of Dahmer flaunting his crimes to other prisoners and showing absolutely no remorse.

On November 28, 1994, Dahmer, Scarver, and another inmate named Jesse Anderson were chosen for bathroom cleaning duty. They were unshackled and left unsupervised — a move Scarver believes was intentional, as the guards apparently hated Dahmer as much as he did. Scarver grabbed a metal bar from the gym and then pulled out a newspaper clipping that detailed Dahmer's crimes. "I asked him if he did those things because I was fiercely disgusted," Scarver said. "He was shocked. Yes, he was. He started looking for the door pretty quick. I blocked him. He ended up dead." Anderson, who had been laughing and joking with Dahmer moments earlier, Scarver said, was also beaten to death.

In "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story," Scarver is played by Furly Mac, who got his start acting in re-enactments for the true crime documentary series "Fatal Attraction." He went on to appear in "Chicago P.D." and Fox's hit music drama "Empire." He's best known for his turn as Mike Mike in the Atlanta-set musical series "Star." Other notable credits include "The United States vs. Billie Holiday," "South Side," and"61st Street."