Why Netflix's True Crime Series Confession Tapes Isn't Binge-Worthy, But Definitely Worth Watching
It's no secret that Netflix is the perfect place for exciting and original television projects. And in addition to being a home for a myriad of comedy specials and scripted television, the streaming service has also produced a handful of massively popular true crime documentary series. After Making a Murderer captivated its subscribers with the tale of the Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey convictions, Netflix began releasing similar shows around true crimes, and how the legal system can sometimes fail the people. The latest of these is The Confession Tapes. And while the series is fascinating and sometimes hard to watch, it's not exactly binge-worthy. Why? Because each episode revolves around a different case.
Unlike Netflix's other true crime documentaries, The Confession Tapes is kind of like an anthology series. Rather than seven episodes focusing on one specific confession, each episode focuses on another case, location, and conviction. The circumstances are all quite different, but the result is the same: someone confessed to a crime they seemingly did not commit. The series opens with one two-parter, but each following installment follows a different story.
This isn't to say that The Confession Tapes isn't thrilling television. Each story unravels fascinatingly in the one hour episode. But because each episode is unique, it makes it less binge-able. The audience isn't invested in each episode's subject the way that its predecessors allowed Netflix subscribers to feel connected in shows like The Keepers or Making a Murderer.
And the subject matter of Netflix's new docuseries is just as sobering as those other series. Each episode revolves around a murder, and the various ways that a seemingly innocent person ended up confessing to the crime on tape. Each episode opens with said confession, before backtracking and revealing the series of events leading up to, and after, the confession is given.
There are a variety of tactics used to elicit this response. In some cases it involves lying about evidence, making the subject believe that they're definitely going to be convicted, and might get off easier by simply confessing to the crime. In the opening episode(s), we saw an insane collaboration between US and Canadian law enforcement agencies who pulled a months long con. In it, they earned the accused's trust, and seemingly coerced them into confessing to a triple murder.
It should be interesting to see where Netflix goes next with its new trend of true crime documentary shows. Considering each new release usually goes instantly viral among its subscribers, it doesn't seem like things are going to be slowing down. Making a Murderer is planning a second season, so perhaps the other shows will be similarly renewed. We'll just have to see what Netflix is planning.
The Confession Tapes is currently streaming in its entirety on Netflix. Be sure to check out our fall premiere list to plan your next binge watch.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.
By Mike Reyes
By Adam Holmes
By Megan Behnke
By Carly Levy
By Erik Swann
By Nick Venable
By Megan Behnke
By Nick Venable