Breaking Down Riverdale’s Zodiac Killer Connection

Photo: Bettina Strauss /The CW
Just weeks after Netflix's MINDHUNTER plunged fans into the minds of America's most notorious serial killers, the world's latest teen drama obsession Riverdale introduced us to a murderer with his own disturbing motive. However, if Riverdale's murderer-at-large reminds you of someone, there's a good reason: The Black Hood is Riverdale's answer to the Zodiac Killer, and you can't deny these similarities between the new Riverdale mystery and the never-caught murderer.
In season 2, episode 3 of Riverdale, "The Watcher In the Woods," the Black Hood finally announces himself. In a letter to Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick), the Black Hood takes credit for his crimes, which include shooting Fred (Luke Perry), Moose (Cody Kearsley) and Midge (Emilija Baranac). The Black Hood wants his letter published in the Riverdale Register, and states that he will continue to come for the citizens of Riverdale who commit "sins."
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It turns out that Fred was targeted because he committed adultery (remember that tryst with Hermione?), while Moose and Midge were drug users. As for Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel), the only person the Black Hood successfully murdered, she was sleeping with her underage students. (No one will really miss Ms. Grundy.)
How does this connect to the Zodiac Killer, who terrorized Northern California and is directly linked to at least five murders between 1968 and 1969? Well, let's just say that the Black Hood is borrowing pretty heavily from the killer that came before.
Remember how Moose and Midge were shot in their car in a "lover's lane" type spot? That's pretty much exactly how the Zodiac Killer picked his targets. The killer chose young couples who were "parked." In fact, the scene from last week's Riverdale episode "Nighthawks" features a scene that's eerily similar to one in David Fincher's film Zodiac, which is about the hunt for the NoCal killer.
That's not exactly a coincidence, as Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told MTV News the series is channeling the crime film.
"What I love about episode 3 is it really delivers on the promise of this episode being a suspenseful thriller," the TV writer told the outlet. "It starts to feel like Zodiac in a small-town."
As the Black Hood did in "Watcher In the Woods," the Zodiac Killer also insisted his letters be published in the paper. The killer made threats through letters sent to newspapers beginning in 1969, but stopped seemingly without reason in 1974.
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Another damning similarity between the two killers? The hood. According to Biography, the Zodiac Killer also wore a hood during his crimes, per the account of witnesses of the crime.
Interestingly, that's not the only reason why the Riverdale murderer covers his face with this particular item. The character of the Black Hood also appears in Archie Comics. There, however, he's considered a true vigilante.
Hopefully the biggest difference between the Black Hood and the real-life Zodiac Killer is that the Black Hood will be caught by the time the season 2 finale rolls around. Hear that, Archie? You've got your work cut out for you.
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