Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow if you’re a true crime fan. Have you ever seen director and director Brian Knappenberger’s name associated with a new documentary project? Just go ahead and – especially in the case of its multiple Netflix titles – hit the play button. At first, don’t even bother thinking too much about the subject. Regardless of the theme of his projects, such as his recent 9/11 documentary series for Netflix or his newest titled The Network of Pretense: Death, Lies, and the Internetyou will fall into the hands of a master storyteller.
And, especially with the latest 6-episode docu-series that debuted on Netflix this week, you’re likely to be confused too. From anger, shock and admiration, perhaps all of this several times – and even in the same episode. The important thing, however, is that I can say with some degree of certainty, given that I have seen several of Knappenberger’s projects: the only thing you can’t do is forget any of them.
“Send me a naked picture or I’ll kill you”
The network of pretense is anthology series from Knappenberger, as well as Luminant Media and Imagine Documentaries. In short, this is a collection of stories about people trapped in modern disinformation and digital deception.
From the official Netflix synopsis: “Haunting, quirky and topical, the series explores the aftermath of SWAT, takes a chilling journey down the rabbit hole of white supremacy, joins the federal manhunt for a blatant crime suspect. An IRS heist and investigates a murder amid Russian interference in the election.
“Reality, rich in iconic characters and surprising storylines, is twisted as the average American home is confronted with a chaotic web of misinformation.”
Even though the title only debuted on Netflix on Wednesday, it is already a top 10 series in the US. As of noon Thursday, June 16, The network of pretense was the #7 Netflix series here in the US.
The cases and stories presented here run the gamut of some of the most heinous headline crimes of recent months and years.
In an episode called sextortion, for example, women recall their experiences after a man tried to blackmail them into sending sensitive sexual material. One young woman recounts a terrifying moment when she read the following on her phone. “I got a text message saying send me a nude photo or I’ll kill you.”
AT Death by special forces, another episode, a gamer fraudulently calls 911. The goal is to lure SWAT teams into the homes of innocent people.
The network of pretense IMDb
The series currently has a 5.4/10 rating on IMDb based on 112 reviews. However, it is likely that some of these may be the result of documentary series attempting to combat harmful conspiracy theories. Including the right-wing conspiracy theory about the 2016 assassination of Seth Rich presented here.
Rich died in a shooting that police believe was an attempted robbery. However, the theory quickly appeared on the Internet and was promoted from the darkest corners of the Internet. It alleged that Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer, was somehow connected to the leaked DNC emails ahead of Trump’s 2016 presidential election.
“Because of Seth’s ties to the DNC,” a voice-over explains at one point during the episode titled Murder in Washington“People almost immediately began to speculate that he was assassinated for political reasons.”
It’s possible that some of these lunatics got out of hand to criticize this show on the ratings sites. After all, this is a documentary about the worst people on the Internet. However, whether they are or not, don’t let that discourage you from streaming. Right, The network of pretense is a compelling title that is a must-see.
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