True crime programs are everywhere nowadays, produced for every medium on every platform. People find the true crime genre to be fascinating, myself included. But why, exactly? If you describe the genre out loud, it sounds morose and disturbing.
Despite this, shows that explore horrific crime and feature interviews with survivors and people involved in the complex investigations are often times hugely successful. How about the Netflix original series, “The Keepers”? That show follows an investigative journalist who tries to uncover the truth behind the brutal murder of a young nun in the 70’s. It’s very dark and incredibly depressing, and yet viewers flock to the documentary series.
The latest true crime series I find myself enamored with is “The Confession Tapes.” I’ve only made it through 2 episodes, but it has me interested enough to want to continue watching the series.
The first two episodes explore the suspicious circumstances around the Rafay family murders. Two young men, Atif Rafay and Sebastian Burns, become prime suspects in the investigation after Atif’s family, including his mother, father, and sister, are found savagely beaten to death in their suburban home. Atif and Sabastion’s odd behavior following the crime sparks a national debate over their involvement in the murders. As a result, police deploy a slew of strategies to catch the young men in a lie.
Atif and Rafay are both highly intelligent and able to successfully navigate around standard police tactics. As the police grow desperate, they organize a sting operation called “Mr. Big.” A pair of undercover police officers attempts to obtain Atif and Sebastian’s confessions by posing as two underworld gangsters working for a mob boss named, you guessed it, Mr. Big. Through a series of deceptive maneuvers, Atif and Sebastian are made to believe their arrests are imminent and the only way to quiet the investigation is through mob-style evidence tampering.
Regardless of how you feel about true crime documentaries, this show is thought-provoking. It revolves around two unlikely suspects and the ethically questionable methods used by the police to obtain their confessions. Questions and debate about “normal” victim behavior following a traumatic event often surface during high-profile murder investigations (think Casey Anthony and Jodi Aires) and this case is no exception. One of my favorite parts of this show is the analysis of the suspects behavior and the various alternative explanations for their bazaar attitudes.
So far, I would rate this series 3 out of 4 stars. The rest of the episodes tackle different crimes and confessions, and I’m interested to see what cases are covered. Pros are the interesting, well-researched stories and the in-depth interviews with people involved with the case. Cons are the filmed reenactments, specifically the ominous shots of faux murder weapons dripping blood on screen. I could do without those.
Thank you for reading! What are your thoughts on “The Confession Tapes” after the first 2 episodes? Let me know in the comments below!
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