Review: The Innocent Man

Netflix has made an impressive splash into the true crime world with entries including Making a Murderer and The Staircase, and its collection continues here, with The Innocent Man, the story of two gruesome murders that take place in the small town of Ada, Oklahoma. The tale seems to end with convictions in both cases, but that’s only where the story begins, becoming more complicated with false imprisonments, lies, and public controversy.

The story gained popularity when acclaimed author John Grisham published his book of the same name in 2006, which served as the inspiration for the Netflix series. He helped produce the show and did some interviews for it, and he has a great line that he says in one of his interview segments: “If I wrote The Innocent Man as a novel, people wouldn’t believe it.” True crime has the rare opportunity to tell the extraordinary events of real life exactly as they transpired, and The Innocent Man accomplishes this task. Most people will enjoy this tale of wild crimes and shoddy police work, but it left me wanting more. Six episodes are just not enough time to really delve into stories like these shows are supposed to, especially considering the show explores two different cases. Sometimes it even became confusing when the show flopped between the two crimes. Too many details, not enough time. Another minor gripe of mine was that the show was too artsy. There were several montages and scenes in slow motion set over grandiose music, and it just felt out of place. True crime is supposed to be realistic, not artistic.

Overall, a solid series, but nothing to write home about. The Innocent Man may check all the boxes, but doesn’t really exceed any expectations. You’re better off watching the shows I mentioned previously for a more detailed, well put together series.

Image Source: Netflix