When I was younger, my dad was obsessed with this show on the Discovery Channel called It Takes A Thief. It was hosted by two guys who used to be actual robbers who would break into a person’s house (with their permission) to show them how shitty their security systems were. To prove that anyone could sneak through their windows, steal their jewelry, swipe their cash, and their neighbors wouldn’t even notice.
It was a pretty good show. So when I saw that Netflix had added an original series called How To Get Away With Any Crime, I had to watch it. It had a similar concept to It Takes A Thief, except they did more than rob houses.
There were 13 episodes, and each of them revolved around a different crime. Robbing. Stalking. Mugging. Murder. Rape.
The first episode was a kidnapping episode, where a man walked up to parents at a park and asked for their permission to ‘kidnap’ their child. It was meant to work as a PSA about how easy it was to convince a kid to grab a stranger’s hand.
And that’s exactly what the host did. He walked up to a boy who looked about five or six, told him he had a Guardians Of The Galaxy Blu-ray he wanted to give him for free, and the kid grabbed his hand and followed him inside his white van. Just like that.
After he disappeared behind the sliding doors, the camera switched to the mother, near tears, shocked that her stranger danger talk didn’t work and that her kid willingly left with a man he didn’t know.
The interview between the camerawoman and the mother lasted for a full ten minutes.
For ten minutes, that child was off camera. In a van. With a grown man. And the mother didn’t even question it, because she was on a television show, being filmed.
At first, I thought I was looking too far into things. The kid was probably with another cameraman and a producer and a makeup artist. He was probably fine.
But then I watched the next episode, one that talked about the dangers of date rape. Of how easy it is to slip a roofie into someone’s drink without anyone in the room noticing.
A twenty-something blonde willingly signed up for the show, so she knew that one day she was going to be filmed, but she didn’t know when it was going to happen.
So when a good looking guy with brown hair and glasses hit on her at a club, she flirted back. She let him buy her a drink. She didn’t notice when a flash of white dropped from his fingertips into the glass.
And her friends, all four of them, didn’t stop her from going home with the stranger, even though she was drooped over his arm, barely able to stand.
They assumed she was drunk. That she wanted to hook up with him. That it was consensual.
It was an eye-opening thing to see, and I would have commended the show for bringing attention to how we should be paying more attention and protecting our friends, except…
They didn’t interview the blonde or her friends until the next morning.
Why would they wait that long? Why wouldn’t they interview her right away? What did they do with her that night? Judging by the way she was falling all over the host, she must have swallowed an actual roofie. It wasn’t some placebo pill.
So what did they do with her?
As the episodes went on, the abuse became more obvious.
In the mugging episode, a teenager was backed into an alley, threatened with a knife, shoved to the ground, and kicked in the gut.
In the stalking episode, a woman was getting changed out of her work clothes when she spotted the host outside of her second story window, snapping pictures of her naked.
In the murder episode, a man in his forties was held at gunpoint and shot in a nonlethal place, in the flesh of his shoulder, but he was still fucking shot.
And none of the participants on the show could do anything about it, because they signed a confidentiality agreement or a waiver or some other legal document. They must have. They must have agreed that the show could do whatever they wanted, could even cause them bodily harm, and they couldn’t sue.
But the viewers tried to get justice for them. They bombarded Netflix with so many complaints that they eventually took down the show. Then they flooded the internet with criticism about the host, demanding for him to be fired, to be blacklisted.
I guess those people didn’t make it to the last episode.
In number 13, the host announced that he was going to talk about the most important issue last. That he saved it for himself, because he didn’t want anyone else to suffer through it.
He brought back everyone from the previous episodes — the little boy from the van, the woman who was roofied, the man who was shot — and invited them to enter the room with him one by one.
They weren’t permitted to touch him, to beat him, to shoot him — but they were allowed to say anything they wanted.
And they said some pretty fucked up things — the same type of things you’d find on Twitter. Things you’d see scribbled inside of a high school bathroom. Things you’d assume no human would be cruel enough to say, but are said every day.
And as soon as the last person left the room, he pulled a razor from his jean pockets and slit his wrists, all the way up to his elbows.
It took over ten minutes for him to bleed out and they filmed the whole damn thing. Of course, I skipped past it. Vomited in the middle of my living room rug and spent the rest of the night in the bathroom.
That man had a sick mind. Maybe he was trying to help people, create a show similar to What Would You Do? so people would realize they shouldn’t stand on the sidelines and let other people suffer.
Maybe he wanted to show the world how easy it is for your kid to wander off with a pedophile, how easy it is for your best friend to leave the club with a rapist, how easy it is to hurt someone with your words. How all of us need to do more to protect the people we love.
But he did it in the wrong fucking way. His logic was fucked up. His show was fucked up. Everything he did was fucked up and he should never have been allowed out in public, let alone on television screens across the world.
It’s disgusting what people will watch.
But I heard they’re already in the process of filming a second season with a new host. That even though Netflix has removed the series, other networks are interested. They know that this is going to be the next big thing.