‘The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann’ Debases True Crime

Cierra Veizer, Sports Editor

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Nobody wants a child to go missing, especially if it’s his or her child.

Netflix released a documentary series on March 15 reliving the investigation surrounding Madeleine McCann. In 2007, 4-year-old Madeleine disappeared from the villa her family was staying at for vacation in Praia Da Luz, Portugal.

Under the ever-popular true crime genre, “The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann” confirms that the genre has become prisoner to its crassest tendencies.

This series was produced to earn a profit and did little to acknowledge the parents’ grief and pain. The lack of sensitivity the directors took forces the parents to relive one of the worst days of their lives over and over again.

Both Kate and Gerry McCann, Madeleine’s parents, refused to participate in the series and urged their friends to do the same, and it’s not hard to understand why.

For over two episodes, the director goes in depth with Portugal’s Polícia Judiciária’s efforts to accuse the parents. Both Kate and Gerry were named arguidos, or suspects, in the original investigation.

Also, multiple sources condemned Kate and Gerry as irresponsible parents for leaving their three children in their villa as they enjoyed dinner at a Tapas restaurant on the other side of the resort with friends. It was also suggested that Kate killed Madeleine by causing her to overdose of a sedative that she rumoredly gave her children to keep them quiet while she and Gerry enjoyed dinner. Kate denies all accusations.

At eight hours, the documentary is unnecessarily melodramatic and turgid. It takes aimless detours into pedophilia, human trafficking and the historical roots of Portugal. It was a simple retelling, in what felt like real time since no new evidence has been discovered in multiple years.

The lack of sensitivity to Madeleine’s family quickly sent this series into a downward spiral. Instead of focusing on a man who was wrongly accused and got large compensation for it, the makers should have spent their time wondering how the McCanns can handle it. They should’ve hoped that the suffering pair finds answers and are allowed to live out the rest of their days in joy, or at the very least, the terrible peace that comes with knowing the worst.

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