The Evidence: Indeed and Without Doubt
The Evidence: The Truth Will Defend Me
The Evidence: The Duty to Correct
The Witness: The Murder of Donald Sarpy
The Witness: The Trials of Franky Carillo
The Witness: Making Memory
The Prosecution: Wrong Place, Wrong Time
The Prosecution: Hidden Alibi
The Prosecution: The Million Dollar Man
Netflix has been on a roll with its documentaries in 2020. From the excellent in-depth Cheerleading squad of Cheer across to the insane and unbelievable story of Tiger King, the streaming giants have really come out all guns blazing. In that respect The Innocence Files is a true crime series that looks set to follow suit, boasting a unique way of telling its story, and combining that with some talented filmmakers and compelling storytelling.
On paper, The Innocence Files will almost certainly draw parallels to shows like Making A Murderer and The Confession Tapes, and in a way the show is actually a hybrid of them both. Built around the work of The Innocence Project, a team who work to free wrongly convicted people in prison (or in some cases death row), the show comprehensively breaks down different elements of the judiciary system into three distinct chapters.
Split across 9 episodes, The Innocence Files spends its first 3 episodes (accurately titled The Evidence) tackling bite mark analysis and how inaccurate or skewed results can be. The next 3 revolve around eye-witness accounts and witness testimonies, and the final 3 episodes point the finger at the prosecution and the underhanded manner they tackle subjects. This helps keep the series feeling fresh, with plenty of perspective on these different topics.
With each episode clocking in at an hour or more, there’s plenty to digest and get through but sometimes the episodes do feel a tad overlong. There’s a lot of fly on the wall footage and static shots of random items, and a lot of the series is built around talking heads too. In that respect, The Innocence Files is certainly a show to take your time with. There’s some fascinating, shocking and heart-wrenching scenes here that deserve your attention and binging your way through the entire show may not be the way to go with this one.
The series spends a lot of time looking at the science surrounding the compelling evidence and at the inner workings of a case, specifically how that can sometimes be manipulated in favour of spinning a false narrative in the court-room. Most of the usual cues and tropes you’d expect from this genre are here though so expect plenty of archival newspaper clippings, family history and shocking claims and facts thrown into the fold.
For any true crime enthusiast, The Innocence Files is well worth your time. The unique manner the show tackles each of its chapters is a nice angle on something that’s been explored plenty of times before in this genre. The difference here though is in the manner of storytelling and unlike Making A Murderer’s is he guilty/ is he innocent angle surrounding Steven Avery’s trial, the evidence this time is overwhelmingly in favour of the innocent and seeing some of these cases overturned after all this time makes for really emotional viewing.
The Innocence Files is compelling, well written and incredibly insightful. If you’re a fan of true crime shows, you should definitely check this one out.
Verdict - 8/10