A Mormon Murder is indeed something that happens in Netflix’s new true crime documents – but, wow, that underlines the story it tells.
Director Jared Hess and Tyler Measom deal with the Salt Lake City bombings in 1985 during this whiplash-inducing trilogy. It’s the latest case to rejoin Netflix’s growing catalog of crimes, but it’s significantly less known than, say, the notorious murders on Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer or the mysterious death of Elisa Lam in 2013 Crime scene: disappears in the Cecil Hotel.
Can you “spoil” a real case – even one from 35 years ago?
Those old enough to see the news coverage of these bombings will remember them as a horrific double murder that caught the attention of a nation that repented of the attacks of Ted Kaczynski, who was still famous in the 80s as the great Unabomber.
They can also remember that the two deaths and a third injury, all caused by pipe bombs, was later linked to a scheme that deceived the Mormon Church, including high-profile victims, and sent the religious organization to some degree of philosophical background. Some will even manage to remember the killer’s name.
But for those who are completely unfamiliar with this matter, as I would most bet Mormon Murder viewers will be, Hess and Measom present an insane unit that can best be described as real life Catch me if you can meet The Da Vinci Code, with fantasy action series inspired by Pablo Escobar and with the Toyota MR2. Seriously, look at the trailer.
It is a bizarre but poignant approach to the subject that raises one of the more troubling questions in modern true crime: can you “spoil” a true cause – even one from 35 years ago?
Mormon Murder This is an excellent case you can make, by presenting the story in strict chronological order and unraveling the mysteries with increasing dramatic suspense.
The series consists of retrospective interviews with detectives, witnesses and reporters directly involved in the case, as well as news broadcasts and archived police material, and the series guides its viewers through each event and revelation as it took place.
The first episode is devoted to establishing the central voices and characters in the case, and takes extra time to explain how the Mormon community fits into the investigation, while the second and third summarize and analyze the crime within the context before the killer finally identified.
If it takes less than three hours to take, it’s a true crime title that’s almost overflowing with pivots and red hair, and that it’s never the end of an episode, even the last one, on a penetrating stone hanger . (FWIW, it’s better to google nothing in this show before you finish watching.) It’s a very effective tempo in tempo and thematic intensity that keeps viewers glued to the series, but can sometimes set the tone. improperly dizzy.
The star’s interview with Shannon Flynn – the offender’s former friend, who apparently wears a vest, bow and pocket watch (call it the best Sunday thirties) – does not make matters better, as he describes the ins and outs of this ingenious yet gruesome crime with a staggering attitude that gets stuck somewhere between admiration and sadness. Indeed, the whole final scene, a sort of “heist explained” series that is largely told through Flynn’s comments, is a bit of a headache.
But for better or worse, it’s a true crime title that will definitely make fans of the genre talk. Mormon Murder revisiting a fascinating case with a captivating framework that does not disappoint, proving that lesser-known, decades-old events are causing explosive new stories.
Mormon Murder stream now on Netflix.