Killer Sally is Netflix’s latest foray into the true crime arena. Directed by Oscar nominee Nanette Burstein (the woman behind Hilary and On the Ropes), Killer Sally is a three-part investigative documentary series that explores former professional bodybuilder Sally McNeil and her marriage to fellow bodybuilder Ray McNeil.
On Valentine’s Day, 1995, Sally shot and killed Ray twice with a shotgun, once in the stomach and once in the face. She then called 911 and told police that her husband had been hitting and choking her when she reacted in self-defense.
During the 1996 trial, Sally was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 19 years to life behind bars.
What is Killer Sally about?
But the case is a lot more complicated than it initially appears. For starters, the media surrounding it was about as sensitive as you can imagine—i.e., not at all. Seeing Sally as masculine and too “strong” to be beaten, the media subjugated her to hateful accusations and inflammatory tabloids. She was frequently labeled a “monster” and a “brawny bride.”
Killer Sally aims to examine Sally’s case through a modern lens, highlighting exactly how the media and legal proceedings played out. Did Sally get a fair deal? Was Ray McNeil’s death the result of cold-blooded premeditated murder as the jury dictated, or was Sally acting in self-defense to protect herself and her two children?
The real Sally McNeil also participates in the documentary via a series of sit-down interviews.
Here is the official synopsis for the Netflix documentary series:
Killer Sally is the story of bodybuilding’s most notorious crime. On Valentine’s Day 1995, national bodybuilding champion, Ray McNeil, was choking his bodybuilder wife, Sally, when she grabbed a gun and fatally shot him twice. With a documented history of domestic abuse, Sally claimed it was self-defense, a split-second decision to save her life. The prosecution argued it was premeditated murder, the revenge of a jealous and aggressive wife.
They called her a “thug,” a “bully,” a “monster”. The media referred to her as the “brawny bride” and the “pumped-up princess”. Sally says she spent her life doing whatever it took to survive, caught in a cycle of violence that began in childhood and ended with Ray’s death. This complex true crime story examines domestic violence, gender roles, and the world of bodybuilding. It’s directed by award winning filmmaker, Nanette Burstein (On The Ropes, Hillary) and is produced by Traci Carlson, Robert Yapkowitz and Richard Peete of Neighborhood Watch (Karen Dalton: In My Own Time, Blue Ruin).”
Killer Sally trailer
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you want to watch the show, I recommend checking out the trailer.
Killer Sally is now streaming on Netflix.