Hit docuseries The Vow is back, and the story of the headline-making Nxivm sex cult is far from over

HBO’s hit documentary The Vow Part II is landing soon and we’ve finally got a glimpse of the anticipated sequel in a new trailer. 

If you’re a documentary lover, you’ll know that there are a few that stay etched in our minds because of how truly wild they are. The stories, the real-life testimonies, the kinds of cases that leave you with your jaw on the floor. Think: Abducted In Plain Sight, The Jinx, The Staircase or even Tiger King.

One of the most recent examples of a documentary that had us talking is HBO’s The Vow, which was released two years ago and garnered much attention. Why? Well, because the nine-part series explored the case of secret sex cult Nxivm and the man at the helm of it, Keith Raniere. The cult leader was convicted of sex trafficking, racketeering, conspiracy and other crimes. But in the docuseries, we got a sense of how Raniere came to be in such a position of inflated power with his self-help group and how it ended up being a case of physical branding and sexual abuse.

Up until the release of the documentary, hardly anyone had really heard about this enigmatic cult, but after the indictment of Raniere, Smallville actor Allison Mack and the arrest of six others, the cult became the talk of headlines the world over. 

HBO’s The Vow: Catherine Oxenberg, Mark Vicente, Bonnie Piesse.

Now, some of our questions look set to be answered in brand new series, The Vow Part II. And it looks like we’re set to hear from Nxivm co-founder Nancy Salzman (who was arrested with her daughter Lauren) herself.

The new documentary series comes from Oscar-nominated and Emmy award-winning directors Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer (The Square, Control Room). The first series followed members who joined the self-improvement group Nxivm and we got first-hand insight into the emotional toll of these events on this group of individuals.

The Vow Part II is set against the backdrop of the federal trial against Keith Raniere and offers a rare view into Raniere’s innermost circle, including Salzman. As the synopsis states: “It follows the legal and emotional journeys of the group’s founders, supporters, and defectors as new evidence and stunning revelations come to light, while federal prosecutors and defence attorneys engage in a trial in the national spotlight.”

It continues: “Five years after Keith Raniere’s arrest in Mexico, amid rumours of a secret sex sorority within his self-help company Nxivm, The Vow Part II reveals the manifold ways that Raniere and a trusted inner circle of acolytes conspired to induct women into a female only sect called DOS, a name derived from a Latin acronym meaning ‘Master of Obedient Women’.” 

HBO’s The Vow Part II is being released this October.

Like the first series, there will be plenty of eye-opening footage from within Nxivm, as well as some of the chilling testimonies from the trial. If you’ve been as transfixed by the stories to have come out of the case as us, this new docuseries promises to go “beyond the headlines to delve deeply into the nature of psychological manipulation”.

We’re also set to hear from the other side of things. That’s right, we’re going to hear about the cult from the mouth of those at the helm of it. This new series will also include interviews with some of Nxivm’s most staunch defenders, as well as exclusive phone interviews with Raniere from prison and extensive access to Salzman, who examines her role in the rise of Nxivm, her relationship with Raniere as she wrestles with her involvement in growing an organisation that was accused of fostering predatory behaviour and criminal activity.

And the new trailer just gives us a small taste of what’s set to unfold in this compelling new series. In it, we quickly get through the crux of the criminal case and the guilty pleas of Mack and Salzman. Salzman sits down and says: “My whole company was destroyed and my whole life fell apart.” 

Another woman in the trailer states: “It was really the psychological torture of women for decades.” Barbara Bouchey, who was featured in the first series and left Nxivm in 2009, can be heard saying: “Keith, I can rationalise that’s he’s crazy. But Nancy … she puzzles me more than Keith.”

We soon hear from Salzman, who emotionally asks where the 17,000 people that “got good results” are, and like any dramatically good series, we know we’ll be hearing firsthand from them. One of the women is interviewed, saying: “People think – ‘anyone who’s still around are just brainwashed bitches of Keith’. How insulting.”

Are you strapped in for another rollercoaster ride through the NXIVM cult? We certainly are.

The Vow Part II premieres on HBO on 17 October, which should be made available to viewers in the UK via Sky Documentaries and Now. Watch this space for updates. 

Images: HBO

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