TV Show Review – Final Witness
Rating: 2. ABC’s new docudrama “Final Witness” covers actual historic crimes by featuring re-enactments of them, with the final witnesses being, of course, the victims themselves. It worked well for “The Lovely Bones,” but critics think this one falls flat on its face.
Variety said, “This is, quite simply, another tumbling step down the ladder that has seen news-like programming bastardized to satisfy the itch once scratched by fact-based TV movies — just as lurid and sensational, but faster and cheaper, distilling these sordid tales to 40-some-odd minutes. Although this has become commonplace, ABC’s attempt to one-up the field with this summer filler…is, to say the last, disheartening.”
Newsday said the show violates “all sorts of standards for fairness — or basic decency,” by including the fictionalized narratives of actual murder victims. “Bottom line,” they write, it’s “A grim, macabre march through a terrible crime, deploying a bad twist.”
The New York Post was also disenchanted with the spectral narration, writing that “The real shame here is that “Final Witness” is a good true-crime show. A very good true-crime show. But that voice-from-beyond narrator is just so very wrong.”
Entertainment Weekly said it’s “equal parts disturbing and cheesy––mediocre actors portraying cold-blooded killers and their victims.” Even so, they added that “What hooks you is the story…which is so horrific, it’s difficult to look away,” and gave the show a “B-.”