Debbie and Denice
Rotten To The Core
6 part series The Innocent Man is a fascinating and engrossing true crime story. With two murders across two years and a myriad of different suspects and evidence, this story about corruption in the criminal justice system is let done by its questionable execution. While the story itself is an important one to tell, The Innocent Man pales in comparison to other series that have tackled this same subject, including the infamous Making A Murderer.
The first episode throws an awful lot of exposition, names and places at you for the first 45 minutes but the general story revolves around a quiet Oklahoman town called Ada. This tight-knit community sees its foundation rocked when two women are found raped and murdered within 2 years of one another. From here we learn of two sets of men that confessed to the crimes and everything seems to be solved. Until we learn it’s anything but.
With a seemingly corrupt police force at the centre of this conspiracy, the following 5 episodes go through the cases with a fine tooth comb, uncovering evidence that doesn’t match up to the witnesses confessions, ignored suspects and corrupted evidence. All the while jumping between the two cases as the defence uncover more layers to the conspiracy. This then culminates in a final episode that reflects on the cases and the troubling issues with the Oklahoman justice system.
At the end of the series we see an important statistic that 4% of innocent people are wrongfully convicted and given the evidence and numerous mistakes from the police force depicted, you’ll more than likely come away from The Innocent Man thinking this is one of those cases.
Throughout the 6 episodes, dramatisation of the two fateful nights are played out repeatedly, along with audio snippets, police interviews and present-day interviews with the suspects, their families and the victim’s close family. It’s a very familiar format for anyone who’s watched a true crime series before but the way The Innocent Man weaves these two stories together does make it a little confusing at times. It’s also worth noting that there’s a fair amount of repetition with these shots too so expect to hear the same interview or watch the same clips repeatedly.
Despite this, The Innocent Man is a highly engrossing and easy to watch series. The various slip ups from the police, the hidden evidence and the questionable manner in which these two cases are dealt with throw some serious questions over a justice system that’s mired in controversy. While question marks still hang over who the real culprits were at the end of this series, the amount of evidence pointing away from those convicted throw some seriously troubling questions into the mix.
Although there’s an important story to be told here, The Innocent Man is not a wholly original series or premise. Numerous true crime series have shown corruption from the police force before and the clunky execution of this story puts Netflix’s latest binge at a distinct disadvantage. If you like true crime series you can’t really go wrong with this one but those after something a bit different or wholly original may be left wanting.