Netflix has hit a gold mine when it comes to offering true crime documentaries. They continue to pump out documentary after documentary detailing the specifics of controversial cases. These do not necessarily have to be in the present; some of them chronicle the failings of the justice system in the past, giving people insight into how things have improved now and why they needed the change badly.
Still, it’s hard not to watch these true crime documentaries without forming your own ideas.
Introducing Law Practitioners
One of the benefits of watching true crime documentaries is that you discover the workings of a criminal defense law firm and individual law practitioners who explain the problems they faced handling the case. You can also notice former FBI agents and other experts working with law enforcers. You get knowledge about evidence discovery, deposition, and even the process of filing an appeal. On this front, everyone benefits from learning new things, which is really what you hope for when watching a show.
Guilty or Not Guilty?
Now, the more controversial effect of watching true crime documentaries is the contention of the verdict, and you might form strong opinions about the accused’s guilt or innocence. This is not a big deal for cases that have been considered closed and have put someone behind bars without question, but that is rarely the case with these shows. It may be like “Making a Murderer,” where several people have been swayed to believe in the innocence of the accused after watching the first season. They even show this in an episode in the second season, where protesters are outside the courthouse waiting for the result of the appeal. In other documentaries, there is an emphasis on how the law has been misused to put an innocent person behind bars.
In other cases, you get to see how the law itself needs to be updated after people who are supposed to keep jails in check have been shown abusing their power. There are a lot of accusations thrown around in these documentaries, and unless you are in the presence of an actual lawyer, you will not be able to test their validity.
The Final Verdict
One of the heart-wrenching elements of true crime docuseries that have become popular on Netflix is the day the accused learns of their verdict. It’s emotionally charged, and their supporters are in focus to see their reaction, which camera operators know the audience will resonate with. For cinematic purposes, it’s nice to have these emotional moments, but because it’s a real case and you are being presented a story that is playing on your emotions, you can arrive at a “verdict” that is different from what the judge has given.
The judge, of course, has enough experience in evaluating evidence, and the whole point of having a trial is for the prosecution and the defense to be able to present their case in a manner that makes sense beyond a reasonable doubt. Being the audience does not transport you into the time the trial was conducted, and you only know what you are presented in the show.
It’s easy to think you know the case entirely after watching true crime documentaries on Netflix. However, remember that these are for entertainment purposes and you will still need the help of a licensed practitioner if you ever need to face the law.