KILLER INSIDE: THE MIND OF AARON HERNANDEZ -- A Gripping Crime Documentary About a NFL Star Turned Murderer
Review by Camden Ferrell
Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez is a Netflix mini-series that documents the rise and fall of an NFL superstar turned murderer. This documentary is presented in three concise and effective parts. While this series may feel like its the product of some not-so-subtle agenda pushing, it is still a gripping story about one man’s fall from grace.
This story follows the upbringing and past of Aaron Hernandez as it aims to examine what led to the infamous and tragic murder of Odin Lloyd. It’s a really interesting subject due to how recent these events transpired and how widespread these events were in the media at the time. It was front page news that everyone saw, and it’s a subject that even those not familiar with Hernandez will thoroughly enjoy.
The series does a great job of collecting information and media about these events. Even though he was a celebrity with lots of material, the series manages to find some revealing interviews, photos, and evidence that makes the whole series feel a lot more compelling. It paints a portrait of his youth and career in a way that is detailed and entertaining. It also eerily utilizes the prison phone calls of Hernandez in a way that gives the series a grounded sense of reality. It doesn’t stray away from the more troubling aspects of the case or his childhood, and it’s fully committed to telling this story.
It also does a great job of not generating sympathy for Hernandez. Even though a loss of life is sad, the series respects Odin Lloyd and the other victims by showing the flaws and shortcomings of Hernandez rather than memorializing him. The series pays homage to the victims and gives their families adequate screen time to properly honor them. This makes the documentary stand out from other true-crime docs by establishing that these crimes were not faceless.
However, the documentary can often feel like it bites off more than it can chew. It’s a really detailed story that is hard to fully capture in a little over three hours. There are many individual branches of the story that warranted more time but unfortunately never received it. The documentary also tends to jump around the timeline a little too erratically, but it still remains mostly cohesive.
Another flaw from this series comes from the controversial topics that it addresses. In my own opinion, the documentary seems to minimize the gravity of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) and its relation to the murders that occurred. It tries to overemphasize the alleged homosexuality of Hernandez to justify the murders rather than tackle the urgent issue of CTE and the role of the NFL in creating the deteriorated brain and mental state of Hernandez.
Despite its flaws, the series remains engaging from start to finish. It constantly surprises you with twists and shocking reveals that will change the way you will view Hernandez and these murders. It may not delve deep enough into the titular mind of Hernandez, but it does a great job of telling this story in a way that makes the three episodes go by like a breeze.
This Netflix limited series is a success on most fronts. It’s a thrilling crime documentary about a world-famous athlete and the events that led to his downfall. Its lack of structure is often compensated by effective storytelling and its efficient use of time. This is clearly a serious subject that should be viewed with discretion, but it’s a worthwhile journey for those who watch.
Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez is currently streaming on Netflix. All three episodes reviewed.