Don’t Pick Up The Phone: Things To Know Before You Watch The New Netflix True Crime Docuseries

It's hard to think of another streaming platform besides Netflix that has offered quite as many new true crime shows throughout 2022. Over the course of the past 12 months, there have been new Netflix shows about the biggest catfishing scandal in modern sports history, multiple profiles on serial killers, and all other kinds of crime. And to finish out the year, Netflix has released what is perhaps its most unsettling true crime documentary series yet: Don’t Pick Up the Phone.

The new docuseries about dozens of hoax calls that are well beyond the normal prank call and instead something more sinister just became available to anyone with a Netflix subscription, and there’s a good chance you’ve spotted it on the homepage or come up in your recommendations. If you’ve heard about the docuseries but are on the fence about giving it a watch, here are five things you should know…

Don’t Pick Up The Phone Chronicles A Series Of Shocking Scams That Led To Strip Searches At Fast Food Restaurants

The first half of the Don’t Pick Up the Phone premiere focuses on the case of a 2004 phone call scam at a Mount Washington, Kentucky, McDonald's where a man acting like a police officer called assistant manager Donna Jean Summers and accused Louise Ogborn of stealing from a customer. Over the course of the next few hours, the 18-year-old employee was subjected to intensifying levels of abuse by Summers and her fiancé Walter Nix Jr., who were both coerced into doing so by the supposed detective.

But as the investigation into the matter unfolds, authorities learn that this wasn’t an isolated incident, but just one of 73 cases in 32 states over the course of a 10-year period. And all allegedly conducted by the same man…

The Case Was Previously Explored In The 2012 Thriller Compliance

If this story sounds familiar, it’s because the case was the inspiration for Craig Zobel’s controversial 2012 thriller Compliance. The terrifying psychological thriller, which saw Dreama Walker take on the role of the young employee, Ann Dowd as her manager, and Bill Camp as the manager’s fiancé, changed a few aspects of the Mount Washington McDonald's incident including the names and fast food chain, but stay true to actual events, as terrible as they may be.

The Docuseries Includes Security Footage Of The Crimes And Recordings Of Victims Talking About The Hoax Calls

No one would hold anything against director Sara Mast if she played things safe with Don’t Pick Up the Phone and included reenactments of the Mount Washington McDonald's incident. But instead of doing that, the docuseries includes snippets of the actual security tapes from the McDonald's office where everything happened. This raw footage, which has only been edited to cover up nudity, adds another level to the series, and makes it feel all the more real. 

The series also features recordings of victims speaking about the crimes, including audio from a 2007 interview with Louise Ogborn where the former McDonald's worker provides more insight into the whole ordeal.

Don’t Pick Up The Phone Plays Out Over Three Episodes

It won’t take all that much time to watch Don’t Pick Up The Phone, as the true crime docuseries consists of three episodes, with the first chapter being the longest at 57 minutes. The remaining episodes are between 42 and 44 minutes apiece, meaning you can watch the story from start to finish, and get to the bottom of those dozens of hoax calls in a little less than two-and-a-half hours.

Don’t Pick Up The Phone Is Rated TV-MA For Language And Sexual Violence

Although Netflix has a ton of family-friendly content, Don’t Pick Up the Phone isn’t going to fall into that category for a number of reasons. Netflix has given the true crime docuseries a TV-MA rating due to the adult subject matter including language and sexual violence. 

Hopefully, this helps you make sense of Don’t Pick Up the Phone and gives you an idea if it’s something you want to watch or not. And don’t forget to check out the 2023 Netflix TV schedule to get up to speed on the other great true crime docs coming to the streaming in the new year.

Stream Don’t Pick Up the Phone on Netflix.

Philip Sledge
Content Writer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or chatting about professional wrestling to his wife. Writing gigs with school newspapers, multiple daily newspapers, and other varied job experiences led him to this point where he actually gets to write about movies, shows, wrestling, and documentaries (which is a huge win in his eyes). If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.