This is a frustrating, maddening and infuriating true crime miniseries about Henry Lee Lucas, a serial killer convicted of 11 murders, who has confessed to many more.
At this point I will say that if you enjoy true crime, you should watch this miniseries. If you enjoy Netflix true crime documentaries that make you extremely angry at law enforcement, you should definitely watch this movie.This review will contain SPOILERS.
After being arrested for murder, Henry Lucas confessed to hundreds of murders, at one point claiming to have killed 600 people, more than any other individual in history (by a lot). The Texas Rangers credited with nearly 200 murders. He was convicted of 11. There’s reason to believe he committed 3.
This documentary covers his arrest, his initial confession and then the complete circus that ensued once he began confessing to basically every murder he was asked about. What follows is a lot of extremely shoddy police work, which makes you made but also makes you question how often such things have happened in the past. (How often will law enforcement lie to themselves if it’s easier than investigating?)
How could someone confess to so many murders? The documentary covers this but our unwillingness to believe that people lie, even when facts argue the contrary strongly suggests that we need to weight testimony of all kinds much more lightly than we do.
The documentary also covers the crazy things that happened once people began to suggest that the Texas Rangers were wrong in accrediting Lucas with so many crimes. This is where things get really crazy and you wonder if the show will go off the rails. However, it turns out there is good reason to suspect that things are as crazy as they seem.
Finally, the documentary covers the fact that only about 10% of these cases have been solved, in part because most jurisdictions closed their cases after he confessed. We’re talking about 175 or so murders that not only are unsolved but are listed as solved. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be the relative of one of these victims, knowing someone the person who killed your loved one will never be found because law enforcement are lazy or embarrassed or a bit of both.
The one criticism I have of the series is that it doesn’t need to be as long as it is – the last episode in particular really drags and it probably could have been an episode or hour shorter, if not more. Tighter editing might have elevated it to among the very best true crime.
It sure doesn’t help how I feel about law enforcement. And it really makes me wonder how many historical convictions in any jurisdiction have happened because they were easy not because they were accurate.