The McCanns swear they haven’t watched the 8-part series featuring 40 experts discussing the case of their daughter’s disappearance. And even though their arch-nemesis Goncalo Amaral appears in six of the eight episodes of the documentary, a man they have actively sued over the past eight years, and whom they currently owe £750,000 in compensatory damages, the McCanns claim they haven’t watched it.
They wouldn’t want to hinder the investigation, see.
So despite a small stadium of experts, commentators, cops, detectives, reports – everyone really who was involved, they haven’t condescended to participate in the production, although the McCanns-over-the-years appear in every episode without exception, but the McCanns-as-they-are-now simply don’t appear in it. This is unlike senhor Amaral who does. We see Amaral as he was, and we seem him now, expressing his views in-the-now.
But it seems senhor Amaral may be in some legal trouble. Because the documentary was made in the United Kingdom, it seems if Amaral has made more “false allegations” [in a similar vein to those that led to the £750,000 in compensatory damages claim mentioned above] then the McCanns lawyers will apparently have the road paved with gold to go after the former detective again.
On March 14th, 2019 the Express highlighted this possibility as well:
A day earlier the Mirror was crowing about the same possibility.
EXCLUSIVE Lawyers for Kate and Gerry McCann are said to be ‘closely watching’ what Goncalo Amaral will say on the upcoming show
On the same day the Guardian addressed speculation that the show had been “inexplicably” delayed because of “opposition from the missing child’s family”. I’m guessing what that means is the missing child in this semantic labyrinth is Madeleine McCann. Is that fair or is it excessively speculative? And then I’m guessing the missing child’s family [Madeleine’s family] are the McCanns, or is it other relatives who have been opposed?
I’m a true crime writer, full-time, and so it’s my job to figure out things like mindfuckery, word chess and smoke and mirrors. It’s my job to try to get a sense of clarity about what’s actually going on. I must admit to being a little muddled by this.
Is the Netflix documentary good for the McCanns or bad?
Is it good for Amaral, or not?
Since I’ve written a trilogy of books about this case, it’s probably worth making sure either way, isn’t it? So why don’t we? Let’s use something solid and tangible to address and try to answer this slippery question.
What we’ll do is look at the 40 experts interviewed by the makers of the documentary, and then try to get a sense if there is any bias, and where the bias falls.
We know that in a similar documentary series that has been associated with this one, that the Making A Murderer seasons while appearing investigative, neutral, factual and unbiased, actually deliberately seems to lead viewers to question the prosecution of Steven Avery [convicted of the murder of Teresa Halbach].
So one can say with some confidence that the Making A Murderer seasons are somewhat sympathetic to Avery. Some may say obviously and some may say subtly.
So what is the case with this documentary? Is there explicit or tacit support for one particular camp? Yes or no?
Below is a list of cast members appearing in the documentary, taken from the authoritative Internet Movie Database [IMDb].
- Gonçalo Amaral…6 episodes, 2019 [ANTI]
- Sandra Felgueiras Sandra Felgueiras…6 episodes, 2019 [NEUTRAL, however implicates Portuguesepolice as “dishonest”]
- Justine McGuinness…5 episodes, 2019 [PRO, EMPLOYED AS PART OF MCCANN PR TEAM]
- Haynes Hubbard…4 episodes, 2019 [PRO] https://youtu.be/HWdV2pORaeA
- Susan Hubbard…4 episodes, 2019 [PRO]
- Robert Murat Robert Murat…4 episodes, 2019 [Suspect, thus indirectly PRO McCanns as innocent]
- Sergey Malinka Sergey Malinka…3 episodes, 2019 [Suspect, thus indirectly PRO McCanns as innocent]
- Paulo Pereira Cristovao…2 episodes, 2019 [Neutral arguably. Cristovao is both supportive of the Polícia Judiciária, but also a proponent that Madeleine was “snatched”]
- Brian Kennedy…2 episodes, 2019 [TEAM MCCANN]
- Patrick Kennedy…2 episodes, 2019 [TEAM MCANN]
- Anthony Summers…2 episodes, 2019 [PRO – Support the theory that the McCanns are innocent and that Madeleine was abducted. Book forms premise for the whole series]
- Robbyn Swan…2 episodes, 2019 [PRO – Support the theory that the McCanns are innocent and that Madeleine was abducted. Book forms premise for the whole series]
- Ernie Allen, president of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children,…1 episode, 2019 [PRO]
- Jorge Almeida…1 episode, 2019 [ANTI, testified against the McCanns in defamation trial in 2010]
- Rogério “there-is-no-evidence-that-she-is-dead” Alves…1 episode, 2019 [PRO, TEAM MCCANN, McCann’s lawyer]
- Nick Carter, editor of Leicester Mercury newspaper…1 episode, 2019 [PRO]
- Alexander David…1 episode, 2019 [Actor/Unknown]
- Jim Gamble…1 episode, 2019 [PRO]
- Martin Grime…1 episode, 2019 [Neutral, but evidence allegedly indicated/implicated involvement of McCanns]
- Phil Hall…1 episode, 2019 [PR Consultant employed by TEAM MCCANN, PRO]
- David Hughes…1 episode, 2019 [PR Consultant employed by TEAM MCCANN, PRO]
- Melissa Little…1 episode, 2019[PRO. Forensic artist sympathetic to McCanns, sketched “Tannerman”]
- Fernando Lupach….1 episode, 2019 [Actor/Unknown]]
- Kelvin Mackenzie….1 episode, 2019 [Former editor of The Sun. Indicated he did not believe McCanns were involved. PRO]
- Lee Marlow…1 episode, 2019 [Employed at Leicester Mercury, PRO]
- Marisa Matos….1 episode, 2019 [Actress, unknown]
- John McCann….1 episode, 2019 [PRO]
- Philomena McCann…[PRO]
- Gerry McCann’s grandmother…[PRO]
- Julian Peribañez….1 episode, 2019 [Detective employed by the McCanns, counterpart to Amaral, critical of Amatal, PRO]
- Pedro Saavedra…1 episode, 2019 [Actor, unknown]
- Jane Tanner…4 episodes, 2019 [PRO]
- Matthew Oldfield…2019 [PRO]
- Rachael Oldfield…2019 [PRO]
- David Payne…[PRO]
- Fiona Payne…[PRO]
- DCI Phil Redwood…[PRO Abduction narrative]
- Clarence Mitchell [PR representative for the McCanns, including currently, PRO]
- Kate McCann
- Gerry McCann
– US Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
– Journalists/authors with an expressly contrary view such as
Of this list of 40 who all appear in the Netflix documentary, only two are explicitly anti-McCann – Amaral and Almeido. Both testified against the McCanns’ version of events in court. Grime, via the cadaver alerts, is implicitly a problem for the abduction narrative; and thus the documentary tries to debunk the efficacy of the blood evidence as insufficient/not evidence at all.
Three out of 40 represents 7.5% of the total cast making any kind of counter narrative to the PRO McCann narrative. This means more than 90% of those on this list, featured in the £20 million documentary, are PRO McCann including around 20 individuals employed directly by them as PR consultants, lawyers or investigators.
Former Merseyside detective Arthur Cowley and Dave Edgar who were also employed by them are not mentioned in the list, however they appear briefly at the end of episode 7 and were both PRO McCann. Jon Corner, who was also employed by the McCanns, is also not mentioned on the list and he was also PRO McCann. Lee Marlow, a PRO McCann reporter and one-time “Feature writer of the year” award winner, employed by the PRO McCann Leicester Mercury is also not included in the list. PRO McCann investigator Kevin Halligen, employed by the McCanns who featured in the documentary is also not included on the list above.
Clearly not all 40 names here are experts of any kind, some are actors or mere players, others are writers, members of the clergy or onlookers of some sort, to the McCann narrative. A substantial number appearing in the series are unquestionably supportive family members and supportive friends of the McCanns.
Statistically it may be interesting to calculate which cast members got proportionately the most airtime and which received the least. By contextualising in which episode [themed a particular way] more insights into the motives of the documentary will likely be revealed.
One doesn’t see Amaral’s lawyer, friends or family interviewed, and virtually none of the staff employed at the Ocean Club were interviewed either. This seems a strange and slippery oversight for a £20 million documentary that seemingly spared no expense to pay for experts in order to produce a credible and honest investigative effort.