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The True Crime Docuseries Killing It On Netflix Right Now

Netflix has many great true-crime documentaries streaming in 2024. One of its most recent additions in that genre has been blowing up the streamer's charts, garnering 14.5 million hours viewed in its first week of release. It's called "American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders," with four episodes released on February 28. After watching the docuseries, it may make you bust out some red string and buy a corkboard to try to crack the conspiracy yourself.

The show follows the details surrounding the mysterious death of journalist Danny Casolaro. Before his passing, he was investigating a string of seemingly connected incidents to the Reagan administration involving everything from money laundering to the Iran hostage crisis. Each connection was viewed as a tentacle connected to high-ranking officials within President Ronald Reagan's ranks (the octopus' head if you will). And then, Casolaro was found dead in a hotel bathtub. 

For decades, it's been believed there could be a conspiracy regarding Casolaro's death, almost as though he got too close to the truth and maybe could've been killed for his efforts. Many have dived into this docuseries already, which has helped fill the true-crime void left behind by "Lover, Stalker, Killer," another true-crime Netflix series subscribers obsessed over in February. 

Critics find American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders captivating

Is there a conspiracy afoot with Danny Casolaro's seemingly out-of-nowhere death? "American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders" merely presents evidence and allows viewers to draw their own conclusions. Director Zachary Treitz found permitting audiences to fill in the gaps an appealing aspect of this story. He told The Guardian, "Our human brains are wired to be conspiracy theorists because in the absence of definite information we, almost from an animal sense, fill in the gaps with the worst possible explanation."

Similar to other true crime projects, there may not be definitive answers, but it's engaging television nonetheless. Nick Schager of The Daily Beast praised the show for effectively utilizing its format: "Enticing viewers with the promise of world-shattering secrets and then miring them in a thicket of debatable facts, dubious conjecture, and manic fantasy, it's an expert case of true-crime form echoing its content." Many people are likely already primed to believe the government would willingly murder a journalist for getting too close to the truth. However, this documentary sets itself apart by delving into ideas surrounding journalism and the lengths those in the industry are willing to go for a story. 

"American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders" may make viewers suspicious of their own government. It may also fill them with rage, similar to another Netflix true-crime doc, "American Nightmare." Ultimately, it's an engrossing tale that, regardless of what really happened, more people deserve to know about.