There have been a lot of documentary series over the years that have examined the broken justice system in America. Between corrupt cops and skewed evidence, Outcry is perhaps an aptly titled documentary that looks at the shocking conviction of 19 year old football star Greg Kelley.
Although some of the material is a little repetitive and the series probably didn’t really need to be 5 hours long, there’s a consistent message and undeniable power behind this documentary that makes it a must-watch.
For those unaware, Greg Kelley was convicted of sexually assaulting a 4 year old child, with a second stepping forward in the aftermath of this and claiming Greg did the exact same thing to him. Thanks to the questionable nature of this televised trial case (involving that aforementioned second child going on to redact their statement live on-screen), Kelley was found guilty and locked away for 25 years.
However, that’s only the first part of this story (and ironically the first episode). From here, the story then moves to the questionable evidence that followed this case including a second suspect that was never followed up on in Johnathan McCarty, shoddy police work and some serious ineptitude all round while handling this case. Thanks to public outcry, the case is re-examined and in doing so, exposes some pretty damning tactics the prosecution took in pursuing a conviction.
Without giving too much away, the final episode sees a crescendo of damning, thought provoking questions that are only further stoked by revealing just how many people refused to be interviewed for this documentary series.
With each episode clocking in at around an hour, there’s an awful lot of material to chew through and the filmmakers do have a tendency of re-using footage and repeating statements we’ve heard before between episodes. While it’s understandable that this is used to further accentuate the message being told, if you intend to binge through this in one sitting then it does become quite noticeable.
A lot of the documentary combines talking head segments with the usual array of archival footage from the time and because of the media attention surrounding this case, there’s a fair amount of it to get through. There’s interviews from news outlets, trial footage and even raw interviews from the kids being questioned – this last point becoming more important the longer the series draws on.
There’s no question that this controversial case brought with it a lot of questions about the justice system and this documentary series only works to solidify that further. It’s a damning assessment of the failings that came with this case and an example of how the justice system doesn’t always work in the public’s favour. Raw, emotional and at times difficult to sit through, Outcry is a great documentary series and well worth a watch.
Verdict - 8/10