REVIEW: Murder mystery Netflix binge


Being about the same age as Amanda Knox, I was incredibly relieved that my time spent studying abroad did not end in incarceration, with the craziest story being me raising my voice to a London bobby who told me the tube station was closed (‘cause in England, it shuts down at midnight) and professing, “Why is it closed, was someone shot? I can handle it, I’m from New York!” after trying tequila for the first time.

The whirlwind of different criminal and court procedures in other countries is something that is engrossing and terrifying when you try to place yourself in another world.

As an example, in France, defendants are not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but rather on a preponderance of evidence of guilt (which, of course, begs the question, is innocence not presumed in French law?).

International law serves as a mirror and microcosm of a culture in how it handles its offenders, but popular media, regardless of country, tends to be caught in the anguish and the thrill of presenting new, if not nuanced, interpretations of the facts.

Netflix has recently served up a flurry of new documentaries about murder mysteries and the drama that unfolds at the nexus of media, and tragic death that would make a great air-conditioned binge for some summer macabre.


“Sophie: A Murder in West Cork”

  • Extra fun for a journalist to watch because the main suspect is a reporter.
  • Beautiful Parisian with marriage trouble comes to idyllic, Irish town and gets bludgeoned to death.
  • Twists and turns with dubious, but essential, eyewitnesses.
  • Closed captioning a must, even for those speaking English.


“Murder by the Coast”

  • Young, vibrant women go missing when the fair rolls into town.
  • Red herring with a victim’s mother’s former lesbian lover as a suspect and ‘90s and early ‘00s homophobia go on trial.
  • Spanish media goes off the rails with misogynistic commentary.
  • Real murderer has a doozy of a rap sheet that’ll have you screaming at Interpol.


“Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon a Crime”

  • Apparently, Japanese people moved to Brazil and made a $387 million food company called Yoki that was bought by General Mills.
  • Rich heir of said Japanese/Brazilian food company, who had a penchant for escorts, was shot and chopped up into pieces.
  • Wife is good with firearms and skinning animals from hunting trips.


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