How Does He Get Away With It? Understanding “You”

Posted on January 14th, 2020

The world has been captivated by “You.” Based on the best-selling novel by Caroline Kepnes, the story asks the question, “What would you do for love?” But when the charming but dangerous bookstore manager, Joe Goldberg, becomes enamored by a young woman, he realizes he would do anything for love, even murder. Using the internet and social media, Goldberg gathers information on his love interests and removes any obstacles that get in his way of love.

With a second season taking over the internet, many viewers are questioning how Goldberg can get away with eight murders. To understand, let’s analyze the actions of the character.

Serial Killer.

The True Crime Museum explains that there are three types of serial killers: medical killer, organized killer, disorganized killer; however, these individuals can be a combination of the categories. In “You,” Goldberg is intelligent and thinks through many of the murders he commits, including what to do after the act has been committed. But he also acts out of “defense” and does not plan other attacks that happen as a reaction to something else. Because of this, Goldberg is a combination of the organized and disorganized killer.

The issue with Goldberg is that while he is quiet and introspective, he can be social and is nervous when he realizes what he has done. Can we call it remorse? Probably not. A crime of passion? Well, our character may argue it as such. A twisted, abusive childhood? Yes, but at what length?

The Crimes.

Murder, of course, is a crime Joe Goldberg continues to commit. But assault is also a large part of how the attacks escalate to death. And kidnapping, too. Can’t forget the bulletproof, and humidity and temperature proof glass case.

Since Goldberg committed seven of his murders as an adult and one as a child, it’s hard for viewers to grapple with how he gets away with it.

The first important note is that this is a work of fiction. But stalking and abuse are real.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

  • 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked. Stalking causes the target to fear she/he/they or someone close to her/him/them will be harmed or killed.
  • 1 in 3 female murder victims and 1 in 20 male murder victims are killed by intimate partners.
  • Intimate partner violence is most common against women between the ages of 18-24.”

How Does He Do It?

Joe Goldberg is intended to be the man you can trust. He’s charming and outgoing. Holds down a job. The type of man you may even bring home to mom. Sure, he doesn’t have a social media presence but in the digital era, it’s refreshing.

The design of the main character is intentional. You want to like Joe. See where he’s coming from. While this is a true testament to the skill of the writers, it’s also a shocking revelation for viewers who live in a world where domestic violence, murder, and assault happen every day at increasing rates.

If you are a victim of assault or intimate partner violence, seek safety. Then contact a trusted lawyer.

Our Scranton domestic violence attorney is available to assist in obtaining a Protection From Abuse order. To arrange a confidential, free initial consultation with a strong family law advocate, contact us online or call (570) 207-4000.

Category: Uncategorized

Share this Post
Craig Kalinoski
Craig Kalinoski

Craig P. Kalinoski is a respected attorney serving clients in Scranton, Pennsylvania. With a focus on Family Law, Criminal Defense, and Civil Rights, he has established himself as a top-rated legal professional. Recognized as a Rising Star and admired by peers, Craig's commitment to excellence sets him apart in the legal field.


We fight for the rights of our clients in a wide spectrum of practice areas, ranging from criminal defense to family law and personal injury.

Back to Top