The Motive is a grisly four part docu-series, set back in Jerusalem 1986. For those unaware of this case, it’s pretty simplistic compared to other crime series of its nature, but instead of the ‘how’, ‘what’ or ‘when’, The Motive focuses on the ‘why.’
The first episode wastes absolutely no time getting right to the heart of the drama. A family is shot at point-blank range while in their beds by a 14 year old booy, who happens to be the only witness. Blood spatters up the wall and a horror-show crime scene paints a grim picture for the series ahead.
This essentially forms the crux of the investigation, as the rest of The Motive shifts across to (yep, you guessed it) the suspect themselves and their motive in all this.
From here, thee rest of The Motive examines the reasoning (or lack thereof) for this 14 year old to commit such a heinous crime. There are ideas about mental health, psychiatric care and the justice system, all linking back to what makes a killer kill. It’s a pretty straightforward show in many ways, focusing more on talking head segments rather than big re-enactments and flashy visuals.
Much like other true-crime docs of its kind, the story is told well and there’s a good range of archival footage as well, including photos and video-clips from the time. The first episode even gives a heads up to this during the opening credit scroll, pointing out that there’s never-before-seen footage included in this one.
Given the glut of other true-crime documentaries on Netflix though, this one doesn’t quite do enough to stand out and reach the annals of excellence. The actual case itself is pretty shocking though, and in a way feels reminiscent of House of Secrets: Burai Deaths, which also features a horrific family murder. In that respect, The Motive does do enough to keep things watchable until the end, and true crime enthusiasts will certainly be in their element.
It also helps too that this series only takes place across four episodes, depicting a light, easy watch that doesn’t take up too much of its runtime by backtracking on details already told. It’s not perfect, and at times the music does feel a little overbearing given the nature of the story being told, but that’s a minor stylistic point in what’s otherwise a pretty solid docu-series.
Verdict - 7.5/10