Your next Netflix Original docuseries binge premieres today on Netflix.
Netflix has become the go-to place for true crime junkies. Their latest foray into unsolved villainy is the new Original docuseries The Innocent Man. Based on John Grisham’s only non-fiction book The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town and Robert Mayer’s book Dreams of Ada, the series details two murders in the small town of Ada, Oklahoma.
The Beginning of the Story
We’re introduced to a sleepy, close-knit town where grisly murders are the last thing on anyone’s mind. But in the early 80s, two separate incidents tore the town apart. Through the narration of John Grisham, Robert Mayer, and the people involved in the crimes, we hear two stories of horror.
Netflix has developed a reputation for well-told, slick, surprising documentaries with shocking twists. Here’s where this docuseries begins to fail. While the story is very interesting and the talking heads do a great job of keeping us interested, it becomes very confusing at times because there are two different stories being told. How do they connect? It also could have been told in fewer episodes. The narration begins to become a bit stale because they keep going over a timeline that isn’t connected to the two stories being told.
Another problem is the accused men are quite interchangeable. At some points, it’s hard to remember just who is being charged with which crime. They use a timeline, but it’s not in chronological order, another strange bit.
The Innocence Project and Barry Shek are introduced clearing the murky waters a bit. We finally determine this is really a story about rooting out injustice in a small town, not about the unsolved murders themselves.
Should you watch it?
Yes. Even with its flaws, I would still recommend this as a watch. The story itself is quite interesting and going in knowing a few details makes it an easier watch. I was interested until the end of the story and there are some revelations that are quite terrible and fascinating. It’s a binge you’ll still enjoy.