We have all read about how false cases and accusations ruin people's careers, and this documentary is proof of that.
What is the story about?
The Innocence Project is a nonprofit organization founded in 1992 by attorneys Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, with the goal of exonerating wrongfully imprisoned people primarily through the use of DNA evidence and working for widespread criminal justice reform. In the 28 years since the project’s inception, it has worked on nearly 200 cases in which a conviction was overturned and an innocent person was set free. Netflix’s new docuseries The Innocence Files details the Innocence Project’s work, covering both specific cases and the organization’s larger goals of addressing specific areas of abuse and corruption in the justice system. This first season batch of 9 episodes delivers a captivating and powerful exposé that balances frustration and outrage alongside triumph and hope. In short, it’s some of the best nonfiction television Netflix has ever produced.
The nine episodes are grouped into three sections, each of which focuses on a broad aspect of America’s due process laws that might lead to wrongful convictions and have the following format- evidence, witnesses, and prosecution. Each section uses real stories to illustrate the breakdown of supposedly just systems and the unreliability of allegedly unimpeachable evidence. For instance, the first three episodes, directed by Oscar-winning documentarian Roger Ross Williams, focus on two men who were wrongfully convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering young girls based on the largely disproven science of “bite-mark evidence.” The men, their families, jurors, members of law enforcement, and one particularly salty forensic odontologist who served as an expert witness all appear in the gripping story.
The first three episodes which were based on sexual assault can be triggering for a lot of sexual assault victims. Also, it furthers the argument of NotAllMen and might prove as a deterrent in many victims sharing their real rape cases.
Do I recommend it?
By and large, The Innocence Files is among the strongest documentary series about crime and justice I’ve ever come across — both for its in-depth research and the almost unbelievable nature of what it reveals about the American justice system’s intransigence in reversing wrongful convictions, even when it’s plainly obvious that something went awry. Yes, I definitely recommend it.