Content Warning: The following review is going to discuss sexual assault and grooming of minors. If this subject is uncomfortable, feel free to check out any of the other work on the site.
When I first heard about this documentary series on Netflix, I was reluctant to check it out. I was worried that it was going to be some sensational series that takes Jeffrey Epstein’s death to push a conspiracy theory about how he was killed to silence him before he could expose a cabal of powerful pedophiles. It wasn’t until a conversation with a friend that I got curious and decided to check it out.
This four-part miniseries follows the investigation into the predatory actions of the titular financier Jeffrey Epstein, focusing on Epstein’s victims and the law enforcement officials who pursued him for decades. The documentary covers events such as the grooming process Epstein used on his victims, the 2008 plea deal former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta was involved with, the debauchery on his island in the Virgin Islands, culminating in the inevitable arrest and death of the shady financier.
Right from the first scene, the audience gets a sense of the documentary’s tone. It shows one of Epstein’s depositions. With each question that was asked, Epstein pleads the fifth; and that transparent lack of remorse is one of the things that make this documentary series compelling. Unlike “Tiger King”, another Netflix docuseries, nothing in it is sensationalized. From the depositions to the interviews with law enforcement, audiences are drawn to the distinguished scumbag that is Jeffrey Epstein, who was a rich man who preyed on girls and had connections to influential people like Prince Andrew, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Alan Dershowitz, and countless others.
One of my favorite things about this series was that it doesn’t focus too much on the mysterious circumstances around his death, which is caked in conspiracy, but his actual crimes, which he know a lot about. While the independent coroner provides the only evidence many “Epstein didn’t kill himself” believers look to, the documentary highlights how he moved his money into a trust in the Virgin Islands, and shines a light on Epstein’s nefarious business through hard facts. What I liked most about this documentary is that Epstein’s infamous death is not the focus of the series; the survivors of his abuse are. And because of that, you get a better sense as to how monstrous he truly was.
While writing this review, I noticed that Virginia Roberts, a survivor of Epstein’s grooming, has a nonprofit that I wanted to spotlight named Victims Refuse Silence. It works to helps survivors of sexual abuse to speak up and break the silence of their abuse. I highly recommend checking it out if you have the time.