Original Run: December 14th, 2018
Created by: Ross M. Dinerstein, Clay Tweel
Directed by: Clay Tweel
Based on: The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice In a Small Town by John Grisham
Cast: John Grisham, various
Campfire, The Gernert Company, Netflix, 6 Episodes, 42-52 Minutes (per episode)
This was another release in a long list of Netflix true crime documentary miniseries. As I’m trying to work my ways through these, out of the ones I hadn’t yet seen, the premise for this one interested me, especially since it dealt with the possibility of false confessions, which has been a key portion of other similar documentaries I’ve seen.
This deals with a small Oklahoma town called Ada, and two murder cases that happened just two years apart in the early ’80s. The fact that two brutal murders happened in such a small town, so close together, isn’t even the most shocking thing. The story of these two cases and their similarities captivated crime author John Grisham so much, that all of this became the subject of his only nonfiction book.
I thought that this had the same issue as a lot of the other Netflix true crime releases with more than a handful of episodes and that was pacing and a fixation on certain details that are overall moot. I guess that these are made to lay out as much of the evidence as possible but at the same time, Netflix true crime productions have omitted things in the past and they don’t need to dwell on certain things just to milk the story in an effort to increase viewing hours. Well, maybe they do, as investors are fickle hoes.
Like many of the other Netflix true crime sagas, this also doesn’t give you a satisfying ending, as these cases are still a clusterfuck, the justice system is in the way of itself and the people who are most likely wrongfully imprisoned are still imprisoned without much hope that this will change.
Still, these things are usually damn compelling and this is no different. I like hearing from the people involved, directly, and getting their two cents without some third party just interpreting their words and potentially adding their spin or agenda to it.