American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online
Directed by Floyd Russ (Malice At The Palace) and produced by Tiller Russell (Waco: American Apocalypse), American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing is a three-part docuseries that examines the 2013 bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon that killed three and injured scores of others, and then the manhunt for Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the main suspects in the bombing.
Extensive first-person footage of the bombing and chaotic aftermath punctuate the first episode, showing both bombs going off at about the 5 hour mark after the start of the marathon. Interviews with law enforcement, including Billy Evans, who completed the marathon a couple of hours before the bombs went off, then-police commissioner Ed Davis and FBI Special Agent In Charge Richard DesLauriers describe the crazy hours in the bombings aftermath, where they were collecting video from every source they could find, identifying a Saudi national as a person of interest just because he was a Saudi national, and other missteps.
But less than three days after the bombing, the footage was clear that the Tsarnaevs, identified to the press and public as “White Hat” and “Black Hat” due to the respective colors of the baseball caps they’re wearing, are the primary suspects. But there were consequences to releasing their pictures to the public, as the violent manhunt that ensued showed.
When a docuseries takes on a past event, it’s usually done to fill in people’s memories about it, giving details that people may not have known or remembered. Or, at the very least, it fills in blanks that might not have been communicated out in the days before the internet and social media.
While it’s shocking that the Boston Marathon bombing took place a decade ago, neither one of those conditions were in place then. Because of that, American Manhunt doesn’t quite go far enough in telling us things we didn’t already know about an event that was such massive news that it had a chokehold on the news cycle and social media for a week after the bombs went off.
We would have welcomed an in-depth docuseries about what happened the day of the bombing, with the first-person footage communicating the shock and chaos of that afternoon, and some profiles of victims like Karen McWatters, who lost a leg that day and was interviewed for the series, and her friend Krystle Campbell, who was one of the three who didn’t make it. We also would have wanted to see an in-depth examination of the flawed investigation, where Islamophobia took hold when it came to the initial identification of the suspects.
We would have also wanted a deep dive into how the Tarnaev brothers, who seemed like pretty normal guys to their friends and family, could have gotten radicalized to the point where they made and placed the pressure cooker bombs on Boylston Street.
But what we get are touches of all of these, plus an examination of how the release of the brothers’ images set off a chain of events that led to the violent standoff that left an MIT campus police officer dead, Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a shootout with cops, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev running over his brother and ultimately being found hours later, hiding in a covered boat on a trailer in Cambridge.
We all saw this manhunt play out in real time; heck, we still see Facebook memories of the posts we made at the time while the wall-to-wall live news coverage was on our TV. We just wonder how much of what we’re going to see in this docuseries is really going to be something we didn’t know or see ten years ago. Despite the decade that’s elapsed, the memories of those few days are still pretty fresh for most people, which makes us wonder just who this docuseries is really for.
No amount of filmmaking flourishes, which we see when interviewees enter rooms, or turn to the camera, and other gimmicks, are going to make the viewer forget that they’ve seen all this before. Less gimmicks and more in-depth information on the particular parts of the event would have made for a better docuseries.