I’ve been a fan of Netflix documentaries for some time now because it carries the right balance of factual and entertainment value. However, I must say that Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez was a complete and utter dud. I was sorely disappointed by the streaming platform’s attempt to cash in on a controversial case without actually answering the questions that the public wanted out of it in the first place.
Synopsis: New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez seemed to have everything going for him — a thriving career, a young family, millions of dollars and the lifestyle that went with it. Once he got involved in the death of semi pro football player Odin Lloyd, his legacy came crashing down like a house of cards.
I actually felt bad after watching Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez. The title suggested that viewers would reveal something crucial about the football star’s psyche that pushed him to commit a murder but what was presented was a hodgepodge of speculations from sources who all wanted to a piece of his fame.
In crafting a credible documentary, I would think that it should be obvious that all angles of the case should be analyzed. In this case, different people who had direct contact or personal relationships with Aaron Hernadez should have been on the top of the list of interviewees. None of this materialized in the documentary.
Instead, it was a like a parade of tabloid personalities who wanted to expose sordid details of his sexuality, former high school teammates and “childhood friends” who still claimed to be close to him when he became famous. The manner in which these information were revealed were also open to question. How were these guys chosen to be interviewed and what credibility did they hold?
There were no interviews with coaches or teammates from Florida or the Patriots who could have shed light on his professional behavior. Perhaps, these major organizations were afraid that their images would be tainted by his murder trial, but no one from these organizations agreed to an interview to represent professional football.
There were no interviews from Aaron’s immediate family members to provide insight on his personal relationships. Instead, the documentary offered recorded clips from Aaron’s phone calls with his family and friends to lend a sense of credibility from this first hand information.
The documentary did not really do a good job of presenting the trial as well. Too confused it was in the focus of the documentary. Should it go the gay route, should it go the killer route? Did he actually pull the trigger or did he order the hit? Why was Odin murdered? All of these were vaguely answered.
I actually felt bad for Aaron’s daughter because the way this documentary was presented was an injustice to her father. I am not saying that I condone the act of murder but the way that the documentary was laid out seemed to feed on controversy rather than clear up the facts about the murder case and the life of Aaron Hernandez. It begged the question as to whether he would have been proven innocent if a lawyer like Jose Baez actually represented him in his first trial.
Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez was much like his first trial, incompetently handled and a mess altogether. If the purpose of the series was to cement his guilt for all enternity, they failed miserably because it actually raised more questions than answers. If they were gunning for more gay players to come out of the closet, they also failed epically because it just showed how homophobic people are are about gay football players.
The documentary did achieve success in one point though, in showing just how much major sports organizations don’t really care about players except for the stats they pull in (Aaron asked to be traded to stay away from a bad crowd but he was hidden away in an apartment instead of traded). Organizations are also quick to sever ties with players who threaten their image. It was really sad and disappointing. Even the compassionate heart of Tim Tebow was no match for the decree of the man who signed his paychecks.
I don’t think this was actually what the series was gunning for, not all all. Overall it was a fail.