Nobody Sees Anything
Culture of Suspicion
Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields is the third “Crime Scene” docu-series to drop on Netflix, and by now the show has really settled into a consistent groove. With chilling details, a compelling hook and some gripping interviews throughout, Texas Killing Fields is an absolutely absorbing binge-watch.
Split across 3 episodes, this docu-series tackles a spate of mysterious deaths arising in Texas and, more specifically, along the I-45 highway in Houston. In the mid 1980’s, the bodies of three women are found in the Calder Road field. Fast forward to 1991 and another body is found, with the area eventually dubbed as “The Texas Killing Fields.”
As more victims are found – all the while showing bad police work, suspicious culprits and shocking revelations – it soon becomes apparent that this case is much bigger than it initially appears. But who is responsible? Is it a serial killer? Are there multiple killers? Or is there a conspiracy with law enforcement? All of this is investigated in more detail, although those looking for all the answers may find themselves a little dismayed by the ending.
The show predominantly centers on what happened in 1984 during the first episode, although there is a tendency to jump back and forth between different months before and after the incidents, and the show even repeats the same sequences again with a bit more information. Stylistically, it’s an interesting approach but at times there is a feeling that this is retreading familiar ground when it really doesn’t need to.
Although the focus is predominantly on the murders and the overarching case, the show really hones in on the victims for two of the girls killed – Laura Miller and Heide Fye. Hearing their families’ accounts of what happened – especially Tim Miller – is particularly gut-wrenching and there’s a sequence in episode 3 that sees a frustrated Tim sifting through old boxes of Laura’s things, lamenting the bad police work, that stands out.
The fact that League City Police Department refused to be interviewed here is telling unto itself, although it’s slightly frustrating because it’s left to investigative reporters and those looking into the case to try and give a balanced perspective instead. Hearing from that police department feels like a crucial piece of the puzzle that’s frustratingly missing.
Stylistically though, the series is good and there’s a lovely recurring visual motif of polaroids and pictures being placed on a wooden desk that’s a nice touch. There are also a lot of shots of the Killing Fields as one would expect, along with establishing camera shots of I-45. What’s particularly great here though is the way a translucent map appears over the top of this, marking off the exact location these victims were found.
Although it is a tad overlong and tends to repeat the same information several times, The Texas Killing Fields is another compelling inclusion to the ongoing “Crime Scene” series and a true documentary well worth a watch.
Verdict - 7/10