Unsolved Mysteries

Unsolved Mysteries
Unsolved Mysteries
Photo: Netflix


4/5 Stars


This revival of the iconic documentary series delves into perplexing cases of disappearances, shocking murders and paranormal encounters. 


Every episode of Unsolved Mysteries starts and ends the same way for me. The opening sequence, accompanied by eerie music, gets my heart racing. I pull the blanket up to my chest and brace myself for the worst. When it's over, I immediately rush to Google, where I realise I'm not the only one who has become completely enthralled by these stories. 

The Netflix reboot of this popular show, which first aired in the 1980s, has six episodes. Five of them address cases of people who have vanished or died under mysterious circumstances, while the other revolves around a UFO sighting. They all have one thing in common though - the cases remain unsolved. 

At the end of every episode, there's a call to action, and the viewer gets the chance to play detective. If you have any relevant information to the story, you're urged to share it either with authorities or on the Unsolved Mysteries website. This is the part that piques the interest of many. So much so that there are web pages dedicated to theories people have on the cases featured. 

But it's not only viewers that are giving these cold cases a second look. Since the show aired at the beginning of July, authorities have revisited many of them as well. 

The mysterious death of Alonzo Brooks (episode four), for example, has once again caught the attention of investigators. Alonzo, a 23-year-old man of African-American and Mexican descent, went missing after attending a party with friends in 2004. His body was discovered weeks later near the home where the gathering took place. 

While many have suspected that Alonzo's death was the result of a hate crime, no one was ever arrested. Now, according to reports, authorities have offered a reward for anyone with information pertaining to the case. 

The odd circumstances surrounding the death of Rey Rivera (episode one) and disappearance of Lena Chapin (episode six) has also sparked new-found interest.

It's easy to get sucked into this show, and because it's so dark, a part of me is happy that the season only has six episodes. Otherwise, who knows how long I'd be caught up in a cycle of binge-watching and following online threads.

The attention generated by the revival proves one thing - the Unsolved Mysteries formula works every time. Take a peculiar case, lay out all the evidence, and then ask the audience to help you solve it. You can't go wrong.

What differs now is the addition of social media. In an interview with Variety, the show's executive producer, Terry Dunn Meurer, said that interaction from fans is a lot higher than it used to be. "[Before social media] we didn't have the kind of commentary, and the kind of armchair detectives who jump in and really do try and solve these cases and come up with theories."  

Terry also revealed that "probably around 2 000 tips and comments" have been received on the Unsolved Mysteries website.

So, how did Alonzo Brooks die? Did Rey Rivera jump from a building or was he pushed? And what really happened to Lena Chapin? 

Everybody has a theory. The truth is, once you watch this series, you'll probably have one too. 



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