New Docuseries Goes Inside Motorcycle Gang

“Exterminate all bullies! » With these words, borrowed from Joseph Conrad Heart of DarknessHunter S. Thompson concluded his violent and macabre 1967 book Hell’s Angels: A strange and terrible saga. Thompson had spent months with the outlaw motorcycle gang and finally paid for his persistence when the members gave him a brutal beating (which, Thompson being Thompson, he seemed to enjoy quite a bit). The King of Gonzo had gotten closer to the Angels’ inner sanctum than anyone else, a feat that the new A&E docuseries Secrets of the Hells Angels (premiering Sunday) attempts to reproduce itself in a smaller, safer, smoother way.

The Angels, founded in 1948 in San Bernardino County in a climate of postwar disillusionment and rebellion, have often publicly presented two very different faces. We’re just a fun-loving motorcycle club, says one. The other is more honest. Murder, rape, and drug trafficking have long been widely recognized as part of the Angels’ MO. This is what the new series is about, at least the first episode made available to journalists. As Thompson discovered more than 50 years ago, you laugh at these people at your peril.

The first episode, “Hell’s Agent,” tells the story of Jay Dobyns, a tall, burly ATF agent who infiltrated the Angels in Arizona and nearly lost his mind and his soul. Dobyns, along with fellow agent Jenna Maguire (playing Dobyns’ old lady), receives her assignment following an all-out brawl and shootout between Angels and the rival Mongolian gang in the middle of a casino in Laughlin, Nevada, which left three people dead in 2002. (Surveillance video of the encounter shows a war zone full of leather, fists and bullets; it was not a good day to try your luck at the slot machines. below). Dobyns describes the byzantine process by which one obtains their official Angels patch – as he puts it with deadpan irony: “For an organization that doesn’t want to live by the rules, they have a lot of rules.» – before detailing the trick that ultimately won the gang’s trust: With the help of fellow ATF agents and some leftovers from a local butcher’s shop, Dobyns faked the murder of a Mongolian and took credit for the merit of the murder. This is the kind of initiative that the Angels appreciate.


Dobyns’ story has the makings of a tense feature film, filled with psychological tension (Dobyns explains how difficult it is to live life as a ruthless biker without starting to think and feel like one) and plenty of ‘action. Think Donnie Brasco on a Harley. As it stands, the episode features a fairly standard A&E aesthetic, with talking heads (including former members and chapter presidents), re-enactments, and a constantly building narrative. The big boon here is the ATF footage, which shows everything from Dobyns’ interactions with the angels he’s trying to impress to the behind-the-scenes preparation for the fake Mongol murder, which plays out like a Hollywood stunt (slide the body here! Throw the blood there!).

Future episodes, each an hour long, will tackle topics such as the Angels’ plot to assassinate Mick Jagger (the Angels were responsible for the stabbing death of concert-goer Meredith Hunter at the infamous concert of the 1969 Rolling Stones at Altamont Speedway, after which Jagger criticized the Angels and vowed never to use them as security again), and the trials of Noel Barger, the ex-wife of Angels ringleader Sonny Barger . With a history stretching back 76 years and chroniclers like Thompson who have both polished and punctured their mythology, the Angels seem to have no shortage of stories, or even secrets, to fill the small screen. Despite the famous imperative, their legend has not yet been exterminated.

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News Source : www.rollingstone.com


With a penchant for words, Eleon Smith began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, Smith landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, Eleon also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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