This Sunday, PBS will air the BBC's production of Dark Angel, which focuses on the life of Mary Ann Cotton, one of the 19th century's most prolific serial killers, and one that you've mostly likely never heard of.
What drives a killer to take the lives of those around them? This is a question that has an entire subgenre of entertainment devoted to it, from true crime novels, to Lifetime movies, to tevision specials on the Discovery Channel to podcasts like Serial. But most of these focus on male killers -- your John Wayne Gacys, your Ted Bundys, your Jack the Rippers. But this weekend, Masterpiece presents a dramatic miniseries that focuses on one of the lesser known serial killers of the 1800s, Mary Anne Cotton, whose death count may in fact be higher than any of those mentioned above.