Netflix's Devastating New True Crime Docuseries Shines a Light on Wrongful Convictions

The Innocence Files exposes the ugly flaws in our criminal justice system—and it's streaming now.

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  • Photo Credit: Netflix

On April 15, 2020, a moving new true crime documentary series drops on Netflix. Featuring hard-hitting journalism, emotional firsthand stories, and a searing indictment of the American criminal justice system, The Innocence Files highlights the plight of wrongfully convicted inmates, and it’s unlike any other true crime series you’ve seen.

Related: The Best True Crime Documentaries on Netflix You Can Stream This April 

The Innocence Files will air nine episodes that each run upwards of 80 minutes—making it a perfect binge-watch escape for viewers practicing social distancing. The series focuses on eight victims of the legal system who were wrongfully incarcerated for violent crimes they didn’t commit. After spending years or even decades behind bars, during which time their protestations of innocence fell on deaf ears, the inmates were finally exonerated by DNA evidence. How could such a grave miscarriage of justice occur?

The Innocence Files attempts to answer this compelling question by tapping into the knowledge of the legal experts behind the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal organization dedicated to freeing the wrongfully convicted. With the help of Innocence Project co-founders Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, The Innocence Files paints a detailed picture of three major problems plaguing the halls of justice: the use of unreliable or even debunked forensic science, eyewitness misidentification, and prosecutorial misconduct. 

Related: 11 Gripping True Crime Book Bundles to Keep You Occupied During the Quarantine 

As these topical issues are explored, the true stories of the wrongfully accused unfold. The case of Chester Hollman III features prominently in the trailer. Chester spent 25 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, yet his community stuck by his side and continued to advocate for him. The emotional announcement to a church full of people that Chester was finally coming home is just one of many heartfelt moments viewers can expect.

Though we enjoy our sensational stories as much as the next person, The Innocence Files is altogether a work of high-quality true crime programming that boasts some serious talent behind the camera. Academy Award nominee Liz Garbus (director of Lost Girls and Who Killed Garrett Phillips?) and Academy Award winners Alex Gibney (Citizen K) and Roger Ross Williams (American Jail) direct and executive produce. They’re joined by Sarah Dowland, Academy Award nominee Jed Rothstein, and Emmy Award winner Andy Grieve, who directed individual episodes of the series. Their work draws on interviews with victims, their families, eyewitnesses and experts, as well as written correspondence and courtroom footage and documents.

Related: Guilt or Innocence: The Shocking Twists of the Sam Sheppard Case 

In a sea of true crime content, The Innocence Files has the emotional impact of a tsunami. It is a must-watch for all true crime aficionados. Check out the trailer below, then tune into the docuseries once it hits Netflix on April 15, 2020.

For more information on how you can get involved and help the Innocence Project, click here.

Featured image of "The Innocence Files" via: Netflix

Published on 14 Apr 2020