I will admit that I'm a sucker for these types of documentaries. And there's a lot of them. In general, I love crime shows, fictional or real. But you give me a documentary or a docuseries about a person wrongfully convicted of a crime and I'll be glued to the screen. These are stories that are very important to tell. For every person like Sean Ellis who was fortunate enough to eventually go free, there's still plenty more locked behind bars. And most of them aren't lucky enough to have a Netflix documentary telling their story. It's a cold, dark, sad life for them, which is a depressing thought.
The thing that I liked about the structure of this docuseries is that they don't play this "did he or didn't he go free" game that some of them do. We don't know the very end of story right away, but we start with him getting released after being granted a new trial in 2015, then we go back to the beginning to tell what happened. The fact that he's being interviewed along the way clues us in that this probably ended well. Thus the purpose is to tell his story instead of stringing us along.
I think my biggest complaint is that I don't know if this really needed eight episodes. Granted, I know a lot of work got put into this and the filmmakers wanted to give it the time they deemed necessary. But I look at fellow shows like "The Innocence Files" from earlier this year, also on Netflix, and they only needed an episode or two for each story. They could've edited this a bit more because it does drag at times, like when they decide to spend a full episode on the District Attorney race. I think they were trying to be the next "Making a Murderer," but I don't know if they needed to.
That said, this story does have some bizarre twists and turns to it. The level of corruption that's uncovered is shocking and the justification from some of the Boston police officers that agreed to be interviewed was disturbing. That's why I say that this is important. To the reviewer who gave this one star and complained about when are they going to stop making these... the answer is when it stops becoming an issue. Which unfortunately is probably never. As long as there's still problems with the system, these stories deserve to continue to be told.
If you like this type of docuseries, you probably don't need the approval from a random internet person like myself before deciding to give it a chance, but you have it anyways, so check it out!
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