What would drive a sane person to confess to a crime they didn’t actually commit?
That’s the question being asked on Netflix’s new true crime, Making a Murderer-esque documentary series called The Confession Tapes which focuses on just that: taped murder confessions.
Except this time, the confessions are from people who may not have even committed the crime they’re confessing to.
A seven-episode, six-part series, The Confession Tapes is a little different to your binge-worthy favourites like Making and Murderer and The Keepers simply because it tells multiple stories, not just one.
So, if you’re struggling for time and wondering where you’re going to fit the binge-watching in, there’s no need. You can take each episode as it comes, and watch as slowly as you like.
The overarching premise of each episode is a simple one: a confession isn’t as hard and fast, and as concrete, as you might think.
Traditionally, a confession can be considered both the lock and key to a conviction, the only piece of evidence the court needs to prove the allegations in front of them.
However, director Kelly Loudenberg wants us to re-think how and why people confess to crime, and the circumstances in which the confession is given.
Often, she contends, investigators will zero-in on their key suspect – or suspects – and wear them down in lengthy interrogations to force a confession.
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For example, the first two episodes tell the story of two teenagers, Atif Rafay and Sebastian Burns, who are accused of the murders of Rafays mother, father and sister.
Though they had no obvious motive and watertight alibis, the friends were local law enforcement’s key suspects. In order to prove their contention, investigators elicited a confession from the two boys with a technique called ‘Mr. Big’, where undercover agents pose as gangsters eager to help the suspects.
The series questions both the ethics and legitimacy of forced confessions, and challenges our perceptions of guilty verdicts – namely, what constitutes one.
You can watch The Confession Tapes on Netflix now.
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