By Dave B.
On the surface, Long Shot (Netflix) is your typical True Crime documentary: a crime is committed, someone is accused of the crime, and people with an interest in the case are interviewed. What sets this 39 minute film apart from most of the True Crime genre, are the absolutely amazing circumstances surrounding the suspects alibi.
In 2003 when a witness in a case against his brother is murdered, Juan Catalan is arrested for the murder. His alibi is that he was at a Dodgers game with his daughter and two of his friends. But how do you objectively prove that you’re at a baseball game with thousands of people? In this case, the answer involves the HBO television show Curb Your Enthusiasm and a laudable effort by a good defense attorney to clear his client.
The role of pure, unadulterated luck in this case is a textbook example of why I went from a strong supporter of the death penalty, to an opponent of it. Prosecutors are well aware that eyewitness testimony should almost always be treated as suspect, but they rely on it as the basis of prosecutions far too often. And police often engage in unethical practices while attempting to get confessions from suspects. Both of those factors come to play in this case. Luck that is unheard of outside of winning a big lottery jackpot and the suspect’s access to a quality defense attorney (which many people in his circumstances lack) help make this a noteworthy and engaging True Crime story that successfully demonstrates significant flaws in the American legal system.
Long Shot isn’t a great True Crime documentary. Even though it’s short, the story probably could’ve been compellingly told in half the time. But it’s definitely unique and entertaining. I recommend it.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.