Advertisement

A Calif. Woman Searched for Answers About Abusive Step-Grandfather. Did She Uncover a Serial Killer?

'The Truth About Jim' premieres today on Max

<p>Courtesy Max</p> Sierra Barter

Courtesy Max

Sierra Barter

A new four-part docuseries premiering today on Max follows one California woman’s quest to uncover the truth about her deceased step-grandfather by confronting her traumatic past and the secrets that have plagued her family for generations.

The Truth About Jim, from director Skye Borgman, Investigation Discovery (ID) and Imagine Documentaries, delves into how 32-year-old Sierra Barter, her mother Shannon Barter, and her grandmother Judy Mordecai bravely pursue the truth about a mystery that could change their lives forever: Was Jim Mordecai a notorious serial killer?

All four episodes premiere today exclusively on Max.

(A trailer is shown below.)

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Mordecai was a respected teacher to most, but to others, including his family, he was a monster with a history of physical violence and sexual assault against women and girls. As Sierra embarks on a journey that includes meetings with a private investigator and law enforcement, as well as interviews with extended family members, she begins to put together a horrifying image of the man her step-grandfather was.

<p>Courtesy Max</p>

Courtesy Max

PEOPLE spoke with director Skye Borgman about how she ensured the family’s story was conveyed sensitively.

“I do feel that when you're telling a story like this, there's just a lot of care that needs to be taken and understanding and empathy brought to the storytelling and how this trauma is represented,” says Borgman, who is best known for her work on the 2017 Netflix documentary film Abducted in Plain Sight, about a woman, Jan Broberg, who as a child was abducted twice by the same man and sexually assaulted.

“[Also] being very conscientious of the family and being very aware of what things can be triggering and re-triggering [and] having open conversations about that.”

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for  PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

Borgman says the message she hopes viewers will take away from the docuseries is the need of having open conversations with family members about painful situations. This, says Borgman, can be the first step toward healing for some.

“I think it is helpful to know that other people go through this and that the trauma is everywhere, and that it's not something that has to be debilitating, but it can be something that can be talked about and shared,” she tells PEOPLE.

<p>Courtesy Max</p>

Courtesy Max

Borgman adds, “They're really just such incredible people to have these fears, have these ideas, have this potential idea that somebody in their family could have done some terrible things and to talk about it in such a public way.”

PEOPLE also recently spoke with Sierra, who shared the same sentiment.

“For me, I think if one person who watches the show, if it changes their life in terms of coming forward or knowing that they have support, knowing that there are other people out there going through things that they've done, then I've done my job and that makes the whole thing worth it for me,” Sierra tells PEOPLE.

The Truth About Jim premieres today on Max.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.