“Occasionally on the street now I get people shouting Knippenberg!,” says British actor Billy Howle of his newfound recognition. “But what I’m really pleased about is that they pronounce it correctly.”

The “it” refers to the surname of real-life Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg, whom Howle portrays in the Netflix crime drama The Serpent. Macabre and mesmerizing, the story is based on Knippenberg’s decades-long obsession with a string of unsolved murders in Thailand, where he was stationed in the 1970s.