Review of "When They See Us"


What We Can Learn from the Central Park Five


If you are like most people, even if you accept the statistics, you are at a loss as to how a false confession comes about. Why on earth would someone admit to doing something they didn't do? It doesn't make sense. That's because you have never lived in a world where doing the right thing isn't always the best thing. It is foreign to you. In the Netflix drama When They See Us, without the assurance of a trusted adult being present, the terror and disbelief on the boys’ faces, the panic, all combined with the deceptive tactics of the police, we begin to understand what a world like that might be like.

When They See Us is a case study on The Reid Technique Of Investigative Interviewing And Advanced Interrogation Techniques. Lying to a suspect is not only perfectly legal but is promoted by the training. The police, believing their suspect is guilty, do not stop what could be described as a torturous interrogation, until they get what they want – a confession. The Reid Technique is copyrighted. "If it doesn't say "The Reid Technique . . . it's not John Reid & Associates!"

On their website, they state that an interrogation “should only occur when the investigator is reasonably certain of the suspect's involvement in the issue under investigation.” A cynical paraphrase would be “If you believe your suspect is guilty, this technique will help you reach your goal: acquiring a confession.” Or in other words, it is the interrogator's belief in the person's guilt – not the actual guilt of the suspect – that determines the outcome. When the person is guilty, the technique is applauded for producing just results, and no one questions it. When the person is innocent, the path of it’s destruction is deep and wide and it destroys innocent lives.


It is because of exonerations