Netflix’s Madeleine McCann documentary falls short of expectations

Emma Costigan

Title screen for The Disappearance of Madeline McCann

It’s been 12 years since Madeleine McCann disappeared from the holiday resort of Praia de Luz. Since then, there has been a multitude of speculation as to what actually happened to the three-year-old toddler. The most recent media update is the Netflix series The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

The highly anticipated The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann snatched viewers’ attention from the second it was announced. However, the documentary is in itself, incredibly infuriating.

Perhaps one of the most discussed and theorised child disappearances in modern history, the flawed investigation enables everyone to have their own belief of what happened. This series was produced to scrutinise the media, parents and investigation alike, however, it fell far short of its hype.

Involving interviews with journalists that covered the case, police reports and more, it is clear that the producers of the series had an intention of how they would portray this timeline of events, but failed to follow through.

The eight-part series would have been more convenient and to the point, if it was edited down to a one-off episode of maybe an hour or two.

A considerable amount of time was dedicated to chasing dead-end suspects such as Sergey Malinka and Robert Murat. Some background of the village of Praia de Luz is discussed, even though it has no relevance to the case. And, Netflix provided no new facts, or clarity for their audience.

The aspect that predominantly jumped out to Netflix viewers, was that the McCanns themselves refused to play a part in the documentary. Kate and Gerry McCann subsequently lashed out at the series saying that it could potentially “hinder” the active investigation.

As a result of this, there is no ultimate viewpoint that the series stands by, providing a lot of loose-end speculation.

The inclusion of interviews with Portuguese locals and police leads to the use of a substantial number of subtitles, which require a lot of determination to read. If you manage to stay focused long enough to read them, they really add nothing to the series in general.

The enormity of potential evidence and facts that the producers completely disregard, speaks volumes to the audience. The vibe from this, is that the producers scraped every ounce of information they could, that even slightly related to the case and threw it all into one timeline with insufficient regard for their viewers.

The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann is a series to watch if you are incredibly interested in true crime and can afford to invest your time in watching it. But, be warned there is a probability that throughout all of the irrelevant information provided, you will zone out and possibly hear crickets chirping.

There is no doubt that something awful happened on May 3rd 2007, in Praia de Luz. What, we may never know. But this documentary doesn’t draw us any closer to a definitive conclusion.

Emma Costigan

Image Credit: The New Daily