Exhibit A is a true crime documentary that explores how forensic science can be misused to convict the innocent and allow the guilty to go free.
The series, released on Netflix in June 2019, questions the reliability of forensic science and the unquestionable status that it sometimes holds in court due to a lack of understanding of the evidence by the public and criminal justice professionals alike.
Where to watch Exhibit A?
You can watch the series on Netflix.
What is Exhibit A about?
Over four episodes, Exhibit A puts forensic science on trial and argues that its misuse, manipulation and misunderstanding has resulted in the conviction of scapegoats above real criminals, as well as enabling the real criminals to get away with it.
The documentary argues that the forensic evidence used to convict prisoners like George Powell, who is due for a second trial for aggravated robbery after ten years in prison, does not stand up to examination. Earn The Necklace reports that forensic video expert said that the man in the video used to convict Powell is too short to be him, and documentary outlines this and other reasons to be skeptical about the evidence used to convict Powell in more detail.
The series has been criticised by The Review Geek for failing to offer much new insights on the topic given the plethora of exiting Netflix true crime documentaries currently available, but the series still attracted a moderately high 6.5/10 rating.
How accurate is Exhibit A?
So far, the reviews the series has been praised for its attention to detail in explaining the nature of forensic science and its use in the courtroom – but given its recent release, it may be a while before real forensic scientists and the criminal justice system in general will comment on the accuracy of the documentary’s claims.
But the relevance of the documentary series’ findings to other people currently in the criminal justice system, and the controversy this entails, at some point we can expect the series to elicit comment from the authorities as to its accuracy.
What to read and watch next?
If you want more true crime from Netflix, you should check out Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile for the story of how Bundy evaded detection by the authorities, and then after being found out still managed to manipulate the public and members of the jury into believing him to be innocent for years.
Beyond that, many popular science books have been written on true crime, and particularly about forensic science and its problems. We recommend Val McDermid’s Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime, Dr Richard Sheperd’s Unnatural Causes and Professor Sue Black’s All That Remains: A Life in Death.