There’s nothing very festive about it and it’s low on Christmas cheer but Netflix' compelling new crime series, The Innocent Man, is most definitely one to watch this month.
Based on the only non-fiction book by renowned author John Grisham, the six-part documentary series focuses on two shocking murders that took place in the small town of Ada, Oklahoma, in the 1980s. Four men, Tommy Ward, Karl Fontenot, Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz were subsequently charged with murder. Williamson and Fritz were exonerated in 1999 through DNA evidence. Williamson, who had spent 11 years on death row, was days away from being executed when he was released. Ward and Fontenot are still serving life sentences and continue to maintain their innocence.
Williamson and Fritz were exonerated in 1999 through DNA evidence. Williamson, who had spent 11 years on death row, was days away from being executed when he was released. Ward and Fontenot are still serving life sentences and continue to maintain their innocence.
The series is based on Grisham’s The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town and the author acted as Executive Producer on the show. He said, "The documentary series of The Innocent Man is gripping, compelling, and ultimately just as heart-breaking as the book. Though I know the story well, I can’t wait to watch it again.”
"If I wrote 'The Innocent Man' as a novel, folks probably wouldn't believe it." - @JohnGrisham "The Innocent Man," based on my only true crime best seller, streaming globally on @Netflix December 14th. @cantmakethisup pic.twitter.com/58VEi7hL28— John Grisham (@JohnGrisham) November 19, 2018
In the documentary, Grisham notes;
"In small towns like Ada, the prosecutors and the police were under enormous pressure to solve two sensational murders … We just don’t expect the police to play dirty. It’s all about winning. And along the way, if the truth gets blurred or twisted, that’s too bad.”
Directed by Clay Tweel (Finders Keepers, Out of Omaha), The Innocent Man features interviews with victims’ friends and families, Ada residents, attorneys, and journalists. Tweel said of the cases,
“As a filmmaker I often find that the best stories are the ones we tell ourselves, but what surprised me was the extent to which that idea also permeates the criminal justice system. By re-examining these old cases I hope that viewers will identify the biases involved, even their own.”
The Innocent Man premieres globally on Netflix on 14 December